A DAY after the death of a female Humboldt penguin, political parties have now demanded that the remaining seven penguins should be sent back so that their lives could be saved. On Sunday morning, a female penguin died at the quarantine facility at Veermata Jijamata Bhosale Udyan and Zoo, also known as Byculla zoo, just three months after three male and five female penguins were brought to Mumbai from Seoul, South Korea. Political parties criticised the civic body for the death of the penguin and have termed it as “murder”.
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“It was bound to happen. The day the decision was taken to bring the penguins we have been saying that the penguins can’t live in our environment. Also, many animal welfare organisations have also taken the same stand. So, we demand that all the remaining seven penguins should be sent back so that their lives can be saved,” said Sandeep Deshpande of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, who wrote a letter to civic chief Ajoy Mehta. The state Congress unit termed the death of the penguin as “murder” and demanded that an offence be registered against the civic body under the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals Act.
“Despite knowing that the environment would not suit them, the eight penguins were brought to the zoo spending Rs 25 crore. It is not just wastage of public money but also cruelty against the innocent birds. So, an offence should be registered against the BMC,” said Sachin Sawant, general secretary and spokesperson of the Congress.
Waris Pathan, member of legislative Assembly from All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), visited the Byculla zoo and met deputy municipal commissioner Sudhir Naik and zoo director Sanjay Tripathi. Pathan blamed the death of the penguin on civic officials and negligence of the contractor.
“I had met the director of the zoo around 20 days ago and had warned him that the contractor was not appropriate and the negligence would lead to the death of the penguins. There has to be an enquiry into this,” he said. Pathan also alleged that the zoo officials had cremated the penguin in a hurry to ensure that they can control the findings of the post-mortem report. He promised to take legal recourse against the contractor for the death of the exotic bird.