A Juhu resident has moved the Bombay High Court, seeking an order to transfer all the animals from Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, popularly known as Byculla zoo, to other zoos and restrain authorities from bringing new animals in. This, she says, is due to the ongoing construction work on the zoo’s premises, which is “likely to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering” on the animals.
A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre, which was hearing the petition, Monday issued a notice to the respondents — BMC, the Zoo Authority of Maharashtra, Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC).
Petitioner, Sonal Motla, has contended that the CZA approved a proposal to renovate the zoo in 2012.
The proposed work was to be undertaken in three phases. The petitioner stated that currently it appears that the work under phase-2 is in progress with heavy machinery on the site, and that drilling, cementing and other construction work is causing disturbances in the zoo.
The petition states that besides Humboldt pigeons, other animals in the zoo, include deer, sambhar deer, nilgai, two hippos, two elephants and several birds, like macaws, parrots, parakeets, hornbills, storks and herons.
These animals live in open cages within the perimeter of the ongoing construction. “They are constrained to live in extremely noisy and unnatural surroundings…” the petition says.
The petitioner further states that eight penguins were brought from South Korea in 2017, out of which one died the same year, and a new born died last year.