After a long wait, the seven Humboldt penguins were finally shifted to their enclosure on Monday at the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and zoo at Byculla, where they will be kept under close supervision for the next 10 days to ensure that they are able to adjust to their new surroundings. In order to avoid putting the flightless birds in a stressful environment, the zoo authorities will allow small groups of people to visit and the first priority will be given to students of the civic-run schools.
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The zoo authorities stated that the penguins are adjusting well to their new home and have even started eating a larger quantity of food. “They have been active in their enclosure and we have increased the quantity of fish from 4.2 kg to 5 kg. The doctors are closely monitoring their health through CCTV cameras round the clock,” said an official.
Another civic official added that a small number of children from BMC schools will be allowed first to visit the enclosure. “We don’t want to startle the penguins and will thus allow groups of students to visit the enclosure first after the 10-day observation period is over. Depending on the recommendations of the doctors, the general public will eventually be allowed in,” said the official. Last week, mayor Snehal Ambekar had written to municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta asking for the inauguration of the penguin enclosure at the Byculla zoo by party president Uddhav Thackeray.
Owing to the delay in shifting the penguins to the enclosure from the quarantine section, Sena corporators had dropped the idea. “We want to inaugurate the enclosure only when the penguin enclosure can be thrown open to the public. Once the new mayor is elected, we will write to the civic administration and our party chief will then inaugurate the enclosure,” said Trushna Vishwasrao, leader of the house and Sena leader.