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    As Crocodile Bank marks four decades, they share their future plans.

    LIFE-sized Snakes and Ladders games, snake biology lessons and treasure hunts–—the Croc Bank Mela on August 27-28 promises to be a fun yet educational affair. Marking the 40th anniversary of the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust (MCBT), the Mela will be conducted on the first day at MCBT’s park in Mahabalipuram, while on the second day, Radisson Blu Temple Bay will host a line-up of guests and trustees, including founder, Romulus Whitaker, who will talk about future plans in his keynote speech.
    “One of the main challenges for endangered species in India is the lack of viable habitats due to overreaching human populations, pollution and demand for land for development,” says Yamini Bhaskar, assistant director at MCBT. Despite that, the past 40 years have seen the organisation bring back the mugger crocodile from extinction, contribute studies on gharials, King Cobras and other marine life and breed critically endangered species like the Batagur Baska (Northern River Terrapin). “We recently bred six hatchlings of this riverine turtle, one of the very few to have been bred in captivity. Besides them, we also have six Whitaker’s Sand Boa babies,” says Bhaskar. As for the four Komodo dragons at MCBT, Bhaskar reveals that they are looking for sponsors to put them on display.
    With plans including more walkways and underwater viewing galleries, they are launching the much-awaited snakebite mitigation program that will cover the entire country, says Bhaskar.
    Open to ages 5 and above. Register for Rs 1,500 (below 12 years) and Rs 3,000 (adults).
    Details: madrascrocodilebank.org

    — Karan Pillai

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