Annual Report 2010-2011
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Chennai Snake Park Trust
ANNUAL REPORT 2010-2011

The newly-constructed Interpretation Centre at the Chennai Snake Park
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
CHENNAI SNAKE PARK TRUST
1st April 2010 to 31st March 2011
Shri B. Vijayaraghavan, I.A.S., (Retd.) Chairman
Dr. S. Lakshmanan,
Shri. P.V. Laxminarayana(upto 23.06.2010 ),
Dr.S. Paulraj, IFS, (Retd.), Shri. V.S. Raghavan,
Shri. M. Raghuraman (upto 19.11.2010),
Shri S. Subbarayalu Naidu, IFS (Retd.),
Dr. T. Sundaramoorthy, Shri. K. Viswanathan, IFS (Retd.),
Dr. Gowri Mallapur (from 18.12.2010)
Wildlife Warden, Chennai
(Smt. V. Karunapriya, I.F.S.)
Jt. Director, Tourism Dept.
(Dr. S. Bakthavatchalam )
Officer-in-Charge, Zoological Survey of India
Southern Regional Station, Chennai 600 028.
(Dr. G. Thirumalai upto 24.09.2010)
(Dr. K.Venkataraman upto 29.12.2010)
(Dr. K. Rema Devi from 30.12.2010)
Head, Dept. of Zoology, Madras University
(Dr. M. Arumugam)
Regional Deputy Director (WLP), Wildlife Regional Officer (SR)
Govt. of India, Chennai
(Shri.S. Narayanan, I.F.S.)
CHENNAI SNAKE PARK TRUST
ANNUAL REPORT 2010-2011

     During the year 2010-2011, Mr. B. Vijayaraghavan, I.A.S. (Retd.) continued as Trustee and Chairman of the Chennai Snake Park Trust.

     Dr. T. Sundaramoorthy was re-elected as Trustee for a further period of three years till 11.08.2013. Dr.Gowri Mallapur, was elected as Trustee from 18.12.2010 for a period of three years.

     Mr. P.V. Laxminarayana and Mr. M. Raghuraman, Trustees, passed away on the 23rd June 2010 and 19th Nov.2010 respectively. They had been Trustees for 30 years and 15 years respectively. The Board of Trustees placed on record its deep appreciation of the services rendered by them.

     Mr. R. Rajarathinam continued as Director. Dr.P. Kannan, Environmental Education Officer and ex officio Dy. Director who had been with us from Apr.2005 submitted his resignation on his joining another organization and the resignation took effect from 31.05.2010. Mr. S. Sivakumar was appointed as Environmental Education Officer and ex officio Dy. Director with effect from 19.06.2010.

      Dr. S.Lakshmanan and Dr. Gowri Mallapur, Trustees, attended to the veterinary care of the reptiles. Dr.M.G. Jayathangaraj, Head of the Dept., Department of Wildlife Science, Madras Veterinary College continued to give advice and guidance whenever required.

Reptile stock

     At the close of the year, the Snake Park had on display 23 species of Indian snakes, all three species of Indian crocodilians, four species of exotic crocodiles, three species of Indian turtles/tortoises, one slider turtle and four species of Indian lizards, making a total of 38 species. A detailed list is annexed.

     Out of the above 33 Indian species, fourteen species are listed in Schedules I and II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and are thus deemed to be in special need of protection. The Central Zoo Authority, in its letter No.4-7/99/CZA (M) dated 14.2.2003, has given a list of “critically endangered animals in Indian Zoos” and, out of this, twentythree species are maintained in the Snake Park.

Visitors to the Park

     During the year, the Snake Park had 7,37,091 visitors (5,49,215 adults and 1,87,876 children) as against 7,55,480 visitors (5,61,771 adults and 1,93,709 children) during the previous year (2009-2010) i.e. a decrease of 2.5 %. The recent emergence of a number of tourist spots in the proximity of the Snake Park has been the main reason for the slight reduction in the number of visitors to the Snake Park notwithstanding that, particularly with the commissioning of the Interpretation Centre, the Snake Park has become a much more attractive site than before.

     Dr.Aaron M. Bauer, Department of Biology, Villanova University, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. a well-known authority on herps and Mr. Ashok Captain, noted snake photographer and snake taxonomist from Pune, visited the Snake Park on 15th November 2010.

Entry Fees

There has been no change in the gate fees during the year.

Adult 10/-
Child 1/-
Mobile / Digital camera ticket 10/-
Video camera ticket 100/-
Income and Expenditure:

     The total income for the year was 78,66,583.17. The expenditure for the year was 59,17,231.20. The audited balance sheet for the year is appended.

Cobra - Journal of the Chennai Snake Park Trust

     Both the issues of the journal due in the year have been published.

Improvement works in Snake Park

     During the year, the following improvements have been completed at a total cost of 17.30 Lakhs.

  • Modernisation of the library room and acquiring additional stocks of books for the library.
  • Construction of room with cages for snakes off-display.
  • Flooring, false ceiling and electrical fittings in the aquarium for sea snakes and turtles.
  • Toilet for office staff
  • Toilet for orthopaedically handicapped and very old visitors.
  • Installation of inverters for Interpretation Centre and Chairman’s Office.
  • Installation of fire safety equipments.
  • Reconstruction of lumber room.
  • Touch-screen kiosk in lecture room.
  • 59 additional LED display panels for Interpretation Centre
CZA inspection

      Mr. Neelimkumar Khaire and Mr. Anilkumar Khaire were deputed by the CZA for the prescribed evaluation of the Chennai Snake Park preceding renewal of recognition. They visited the Snake Park on 26th and 27th Jan., inspected the facilities and the records, and had discussions with the Chairman. The renewal of recognition beyond 01.09.2010 is awaited.

Visits

     In the 2nd week of Sept., the Chairman and S.R. Ganesh, Research Scholar made a visit to the Rain Forest Research Station, Agumbe, Karnataka, where field studies are being conducted on king cobras with telemetry facilities. They had discussions with Mr.Gowri Shankar, who has been in charge of the Research Station for the last five years. On the way back, they also made a visit to the reptile collections in the Pilikula Biological Park in Mangalore.

Talks

     a)     On an invitation received from the Centre for Herpetology, Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, the Chairman participated in a CZA – sponsored workshop on 08.05.10 at the Madras Crocodile Bank, Mamallapuram and gave a talk on the role of zoos in conservation of biodiversity.

     b)     On 10.06.2010, the Chairman gave a talk before the Madras Naturalists Society accepting the first copy of the Society’s publication The Sprint of the Blackbuck released by Mr.Gopalakrishna Gandhi, former Governor of West Bengal.

     c)     The Chairman made a power-point presentation on “Snakes in Madras” at the Studio Palazzo Art Gallery in Alwarpet, Chennai on the 17th Aug. on the occasion of the Madras Week Celebrations.

     d)     Another power-point presentation was made by the Chairman before the Madras Book Club on “The Wonder that is the Snake” based on his book“400 Questions Answered about Snakes” on 19th August at the Connemara Hotel, Chennai.

     e)     Another power-point presentation was made by the Chairman before an invited audience on “The wonder that is the snake” based on his book“400 Questions Answered about Snakes” on Wednesday 15th Dec. 2010 at the Madras Museum, Egmore.

     f)     On an invitation received from the organizers of the 4th School in Herpetology sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology at Coimbatore, the Chairman delivered the inaugural lecture on the topic “The pitfalls in herpetological research in India” on 24.01.2011. In addition, the Chairman made a power-point presentation on “Thirtythree false beliefs about snakes in India” the same day.

     g)     On an invitation received from the organisers of ‘the National workshop for Zoo Veterinarians’ on “Protocol for the veterinary care and safety of wild animals during transportation”, the Chairman attended the same as a facilitator for the reptile session on 27th Jan.2011 at the Madras Veterinary College. The workshop was sponsored by the CZA.

     h)     The Chairman delivered a talk on the 13th Feb. at the “National Conference on Conservation of sacred groves to protect local biodiversity” organised by the C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre at Chennai and sponsored by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India on 13.02.2011. The Chairman also participated in the sessions on the 14th & 15th Feb.

     i)     The E.E.O. delivered a lecture on “Basic biology of reptiles and reptile care in captivity” for the field staff of Arignar Anna Zoological Park and Wildlife Division, Chennai at Arignar Anna Zoological Park, on 8th, 10th, 15th and 17th March.

Survey of herpetofauna

     Mr.S.R. Ganesh, Research Scientist has been entrusted with a survey of herpetofauna of Shevaroy and Kolli hills, Eastern Ghats, India. This is a three year-project.

4th School in Herpetology

     S.R. Ganesh, Research Scientist, participated in the 4th School in Herpetology training programme sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology at Coimbatore from 24th Jan. to 7th Feb.

Western Ghats Reptile Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (CAMP)

     S.R. Ganesh, Research Scientist participated in the Western Ghats Reptile CAMP at Coimbatore from 28th Feb. to 4th Mar. The workshop was organised by the Wildlife Information Liaison Development (WILD) Society, Zoo Outreach Organisation (ZOO) and the South Asian Reptile Network (SARN) alongwith the IUCN Global Reptile Assessment (GRA),

Lectures

     Talks were delivered as follows during the year by the staff of the Trust on topics relating to snakes and other reptiles, the role of snakes in the environment, the need for conservation of reptiles and snakebite and its treatment. These were accompanied in most cases by slide shows on the subject.

Date Presented by Audience
19.04.2010 E.E.O

Lecture on reptiles with special reference to snakes, snakebite, first aid and treatment. 100 members of the staff from Vibgyor Automotive Private Limited, Srikakulathur Village participated at the factory premises.

30.04.2010 E.E.O

Lecture on reptiles with special reference to snakes, snakebite, first aid and treatment. 30 School students from Shri AMM Murugappa Chettiar Research Centre, Chennai and workshop organized by ENVIS Centre at Park Premises.

07.05.2010 E.E.O

60 students and Lectures of Summer Science Camp organized by Science City, Chennai at Park premises.

21.05.2010 E.E.O

Lecture on reptiles with special reference to snakes, snakebite, first aid and treatment. II M.Sc. Zoology / Biology students for Summer Training programme organized by Madras University, Chennai..

30.05.2010 Director

19 students and one lecturer from Veterinary College, Vepery, Chennai as part of their Internship Programme in the Park premises.

03.06.2010 Director

18 students and one lecturer for certificate course on Animal Welfare from Veterinary College, Vepery, Chennai in the Park premises.

09.06.2010 Director

18 students and one lecturer from Veterinary College, Vepery, Chennai as part of their Internship Programme in the Park premises.

23.06.2010 Director

18 students and one lecturer from Veterinary College, Namakkal, as part of their Internship Programme in the Park premises.

29.06.2010 E.E.O

20 students and one lecturer from Veterinary College, Vepery, Chennai as part of their Internship Programme in the Park premises.

29.07.2010 E.E.O

19 students and one lecturer from Veterinary College, Vepery, Chennai as part of their Internship Programme in the Park premises.

16.09.2010 E.E.O

Lecture on snakes and other reptiles for post graduate students from A.V.C. College, Myladuthurai at Park Premises

21.09.2010 E.E.O

63 participants from Tamil Nadu Forest Training College, Vaigai, 87th batch as part of their Programme in the Park premises.

08.10.2010 E.E.O

On the occasion of Wildlife Week Celebration a power-point presentation was made on “The wonder that is the snake”, at Madras Veterinary College premises.

15.10.2010 E.E.O

20 students and one lecturer from Veterinary College, Vepery, Chennai as part of their Internship Programme in the Park premises.

31.10.2010 E.E.O

20 students and one lecturer from Veterinary College, Namakkal as a part of their Internship Programme in the Park premises.

12.11.2010 E.E.O

20 students and one lecturer from Veterinary College, Vepery, Chennai as part of their Internship Programme in the Park premises.

17.11.2010 E.E.O

49 I.F.S. trainees in the Park premises.

26.11.2010 E.E.O

17 participants of Single Population Analysis & Records Keeping System (SPARKS) training workshop at Vandalur Zoo organized by the CZA in the Snake Park premises.

04.12.2010 E.E.O

20 Forester trainees and one lecturer from Forest Training College, Andaman as part of their Internship Programme in the Park premises.

09.01.2011 E.E.O

24 Forest Range Officer Trainees and one District Forest Officer Forestry Training Academy, Uttarakhand as part of their Internship Programme in the Park premises.

23.01.2011 E.E.O

46 Forest Ranger Trainees from Forest Rangers College, Madhya Pradesh as part of their Internship Programme in the Park premises.

04.03.2011 E.E.O

40 students and 3 teachers from Anubhuti School, Jalgaon, Maharashtra.

Grants from CZA

     The Central Zoo Authority sanctioned an mount of 89,000 as grant towards 50 % funding of the then-estimated cost of 1.77 Lakhs for flooring, false ceiling and electrical fittings in the Aquarium for sea snakes and turtles.

Donation

     A donation 10,000/- was received from Mr. L. Venkatesh son of the Late P.V.Laxminarayana, former Trustee.

     A donation 10,000 was received from Mr. S.P. Ambrose, IAS (Retd.), Managing Editor, Adyar Times.

Payment of Royalty

     The Director, ENVIS Centre, Dept. of Environment, Chennai has paid the Trust 20,000/- towards royalty for utilizing the database on snakes gleaned from the Trust publication ‘400 Questions Answered about Snakes’ by B. Vijayaraghavan.

Publications

     The Trust’s publication Snakebite : A Book for India by B. Vijayaraghavan was originally published in the year 2008. On the stocks getting exhausted, 2000 copies have been reprinted in May 2010.

Website

     A website for CSPT (cspt.in) was launched in the year.

Master Plan

     The master plan of the Chennai Snake Park was approved by the Board on 26.03.2011 and sent to CZA on 30.03.2011.

Research Project on Snake repellents

     The Defence Research Development Establishment, Government of India had sanctioned a project at a cost of 9.60 Lakhs for two years (Oct. 2008 to Sept.2010 ) for evaluating the effectiveness of certain snake repellents available abroad, in Indian conditions. The final project report was sent on 17.02.2011. Out of the grant of 9,60,000 received from DRDE for two years, the expenditure incurred came to about 9,51,689 and the balance was refunded.

Training programme

     Mr. S. Ravi, Animal Keeper attended the training programme organized by Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, Mamallapuram for zoo personnel on Management of reptiles in captivity from 8th to 14th May 2010. This training programme was conducted at the Snake Park premises.

Training programme for college students

     On a request received from the Dept. of Advanced Zoology and Biotechnology at the Women’s Christian College, six students from the College were given job-training at the Chennai Snake Park from 5th to 20th May 2010.

Awareness programme covered for the Chittiram TV

     The Chittiram TV (Tamil Channel) interviewed the E.E.O. on our Environmental Education programmes and the programme was telecast on 26.01.2011

Fire safety instruction class

     On the Trust’s request, the Fire & Rescue Services Dept. conducted an instruction class on fire safety measures for the benefit of our employees on 07.06.2010.

Survey

     On a request from ITC Limited, snake surveys were conducted in their premises at the Specialty Papers Division unit at Bhadrachalam, Andhra Pradesh, from 27th to 29th May 2010. An amount of 20,000 was collected towards the full expenditure and consultation fees.

Environmental Education

     It has been the primary endeavour of the Chennai Snake Park Trust to save snakes from reckless destruction caused by widespread ignorance about them and the morbid and largely irrational fear of them even among the comparatively educated sections of the public. Many false beliefs about snakes are firmly entrenched in the mind of the public right from childhood. The public, by and large, know little or nothing of the good that snakes do by keeping vermin under control. It is against this background that the Trust has kept its principal focus on being a centre for education on snakes and other reptiles with a whole package of activities in pursuance of the same. The display of snakes and other reptiles at the Park is a principal means to this end. The package includes the following:-

     Display of detailed information in English and Tamil at strategic locations in the Park on matters such as identification of the principal species of venomous and nonvenomous snakes, habits and habitats of snakes and other reptiles, erroneous notions about snakes, treatment of snakebite, etc. State-of-the–art Interpretation Centre with informative electronic display boards and audio-visuals. There is also a touch-screen kiosk facilitating interactive sessions.

Awareness programme for school students

     The Environmental Education Officer gave talks to the students on snakes and other reptiles. So far, 74 school programmes for 41 schools covering 4,027 students and 187 teachers have been conducted in the current financial year.

Quiz programme

     Quiz programmes were conducted for school students by the E.E.O., in the Park premises. 24 students from five schools on 27th Aug. and 14 students from three schools on 4th Oct. participated the quiz programme. Prizes were awarded at 1,000 for First prize, 750 for Second price and 500 for Third prize to the successful contestants.

Awareness programme for staff of Vestas Wind Technology India Pvt. Ltd., Chennai.

     On a request from the Vestas Wind Technology India Pvt. Ltd., two awareness programmes were conducted on snakes for their emergency response team, maintenance, house keeping and security staff in the Park premises. A total of 39 of their employees participated in the programme on 26th and 27th Nov. An amount of 20,000 was collected for these two days programme.

Training programme for officials of the Fire and Rescue Services Dept. on identification of venomous snakes, snakebite and treatment and also rescue of snakes.

     On 30.12.2010 / 10.01.2011, based on a request from Shri. R. Nataraj, IPS., Director and DGP, Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services, fifty officials of the Fire and Rescue Services Dept., (Station Officers and Firemen) were given training on techniques of catching snakes straying into human habitations and their translocation. The instructions also covered identification of venomous snakes, snakebite and treatment.

     Resource materials and refreshments were given free. The full expenditure was met from the Park’s own funds.

Awareness programme for the public

     Awareness programmes were conducted on snakes for the members of the public at the Chennai Snake Park on 8th Jan. and 5th Feb. 2011.

Exhibition

     On the invitation of the Director, Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai, we displayed material on reptiles at the Chennai Science Festival, 2011 (from 29th January to 2nd February 2011) at Science City, Chennai.

Acknowledgements

     The Chennai Snake Park Trust is grateful to the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, Government of Tamil Nadu in the Environment and Forest Department, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Tamil Nadu, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, Tamil Nadu, the Conservator of Forests and Director, Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur, the Central Zoo Authority of India and the Animal Welfare Board, Government of India, the Defence Research and Development Establishment, Govt. of India at Gwalior, Madras crocodile Bank Trust and the Madras Veterinary College for the support received.

  (B.Vijayaraghavan)
  Chairman
  (for and on behalf of the Board of Trustees)
REPTILE SPECIES ON DISPLAY AT THE CHENNAI SNAKE PARK
(As on 31st March.2011)
1. Indian rock python Python molurus
2. Reticulated python Python reticulatus
3. Common sand boa Gongylophis conicus
4. Red sand boa Eryx johnii
5. Common trinket snake Coelognathus helena helena
6. Indian rat snake Ptyas mucosa
7. Common kukri snake Oligodon arnensis
8. Common bronzeback Tree snake Dendrelaphis tristis
9. Common wolf snake Lycodon aulicus
10. Checkered keelback Xenochrophis piscator
11. Striped keelback Amphiesma stolatum
12. Olive keelback Atretium schistosum
13. Common cat snake Boiga trigonata
14. Common vine snake Ahaetulla nasuta
15. Dog-faced water snake Cerberus rynchops
16. Common krait Bungarus caeruleus
17. Spectacled cobra Naja naja
18. Hook-nosed sea snake Enhydrina schistosa
19. Yellow sea snake Hydrophis spiralis
20. Annulated sea snake Hydrophis cyanocinctus
21. Common small-headed sea snake Hydrophis gracilis
22. Russell’s viper Daboia russelii
23. Saw-scaled viper Echis carinatus
24. Marsh crocodile Crocodylus paluster
25. Saltwater crocodile Crocodylus porosus
26. Gharial Gavialis gangeticus
27. Nile crocodile Crocodylus niloticus
28. Siamese crocodile Crocodylus siamensis
29. African dwarf crocodile Osteolaemus tetraspis
30. Spectacled caiman Caiman crocodilus
31. Indian black turtle Melanochelys trijuga
32. Star tortoise Geochelone elegans
33. Indian flapshell turtle Lissemys punctata
34. Slider turtle Pseudemys scripta
35. Spotted rock gecko Hemidactylus maculatus
36. Rock lizard Psammophilus blanfordanus
37. South Asian chamaeleon Chamaeleo zeylanicus
38. Bengal monitor Varanus bengalensis
AIMS & OBJECTIVES OF THE CHENNAI SNAKE PARK TRUST
  • To maintain and display a captive collection of snakes and other reptiles as a means of eliciting public interest in them and prompting the public to empathize with them;
  • to promote knowledge among the public on reptiles and amphibians and dispel the widespread erroneous beliefs about snakes in particular and, to this end, conduct awareness programmes targeting school children primarily and bring out low-priced publications with technical, semi-technical and popular content;
  • to aid and assist research on reptiles and amphibians including the conduct of surveys to assess their status and distribution;
  • to undertake captive breeding of endangered species of reptiles; and
  • to canvass public support for the protection and conservation of reptiles and amphibians.

The refurbished library at the Chennai Snake Park.