As leisure spots around the world financially suffer amidst the coronavirus pandemic, one of India’s largest aquariums and Chennai's popular tourist attraction is calling on people to virtually adopt a fish and help feed the aquatic animals.
The temporarily closed VGP Marine Kingdom in Tamil Nadu is asking people to contribute money to support the walk-through tunnel aquarium.
Home to 7,000 marine and fresh water fishes from 250 species, the privately-owned aquarium requires Rs 35 lakh (Dh 170,081) every month for food, and electricity for maintenance, including air conditioning and water filtering, Indian media outlets reported.
The walk-in aquarium features live feeding shows and touch pool exhibits.
As a solution, people are now being offered to virtually adopt a fish. The aquarium would send them videos of the fish being fed, along with a thank-you note.
A Facebook post on their page reads: “Despite being closed to the public due to the COVID-19 related lockdown, at VGP Marine Kingdom, we are still working hard to keep our marine friends well-fed, comfortable and ... adopt a fish to lend us a helping hand with feeding and upkeep requirements of the aquarium.”
Reportedly, the aquarium was visited by around 3,000 people daily before the lockdown was imposed in India.
"Up to 8,000 visited the aquarium during last year's summer vacation," officials was quoted as saying.
CEO of the company, VG Premdas, was quoted as saying: "We are working on alternative and innovative streams of revenue. We will also introduce virtual tours soon. Its a Rs 115 crore project, a pride of Chennai. As a public aquarium we want people to also become partners. The response has been good."
Other such facilities have also been impacted in India. It was reported that Madras Crocodile Bank Trust recently initiated a fund-raising campaign to feed its 2,000 adult crocodiles including many endangered species.