THREE MALE and five female humboldt penguins finally arrived in the city from Seoul early Tuesday morning. They have been kept in the quarantine section of the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale zoo and will remain there under close supervision for around three months.
The penguins have been brought in as part of a Rs 45-crore project, which includes the cost of purchasing them, setting up their enclosure and their maintenance for five years.
While the penguins need to be kept in a temperature between four and 25 degree Celsius, the temperature in the quarantine area spread out over 250 square feet will be kept between 16-18 degrees.
“For the next one month, two specialists from procurement agency Goa Trade, which we have hired, will keep round-the-clock watch on the penguins,” said Sanjay Tripathi, director of the zoo.
After three months, they will be shifted to an enclosure spread over an area of 1,700 square feet where they will be open to public viewing. While six of the penguins are adults and are almost of breeding age, two of them are only a couple of months old.
The humboldt penguins are between one and three years of age. Their current weight ranges between a kg and 2.5 kg. The penguins are currently between 12 cm and 15 cm tall. Once they are fully grown, their height can go up to 65-70 cm and they can weigh upto four to six kg. The humboldt penguins have a life expectancy of around 20-25 years.
The BMC in a joint venture has appointed three separate agencies — Oceanis, an Australian agency to care for the penguins, SIVAT, a US-based company, and Highway Construction Company, an Indian firm which is designing and constructing the enclosure.