Even after facing severe criticism from animal activists, zoo officials at Veermaata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, Mumbai are hosting a public exhibition of the endangered Humboldt Penguins. Come March 18, people can visit the zoo and see seven penguins (three males and four females ) in an air conditioned enclosure.
There was criticism from activists for introducing the penguins to Mumbai, a city with the climate they aren’t even adapted to. After a female penguin died of an infection last year, animal activists blamed the zoo for mistreating and exploiting the animals. There was a political stir too in BMC where opposition blamed Shiv Sena for their arrival.
On March 17, Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray and newly elected Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar will inaugurate Humboldt Penguin exhibit after clearance from a microbiologist of Department of Zoo Authority of India.
These penguins are imported from South Korea and kept under 12-15 degree temperature. Humboldt Penguins are mainly found in coastal Chile and Peru in South America.
“18th onwards people can view Humboldt Penguins in a well-acclimatized exhibit area. The temperature of the enclosed tank ranges from 12-15 degree and water is continuously filtered with life support system,” said Sanjay Tripathi, Director of the Zoo.
Vet. Dr Madhumita Kale has named the penguins – Bubble, Olive, Daisy, Flipper, Popeye, Donald and Mr Molt.
The zoo is looking forward to attracting more visitors and renovating the facilities to match the international standards. The zoo also intends to introduce new exotic animals in zoo’s enclosure where children will get knowledge about the aquatic life.
It will be interesting to see how activists will react when more such exotic animals will be introduced in the 1,800-acre area of zoo in the coming days.