After Humboldt penguins made Mumbai their home, the Gujarat government has planned to get its own set of penguins. About six African penguins are expected to be kept at the under-construction Aquatic Science Gallery at Ahmedabad’s Gujarat Science City.
An 800 square feet specialised enclosure is being created for the penguins in the multi-storied aquatic gallery that will also house a “shark tank”.
“New Zealand-based Marinescape Ltd will be supplying the penguins and sharks,” said Dhananjay Dwivedi, secretary (Science & Technology Department) while interacting with mediapersons on Saturday.
The government is planning to get sandbar shark and the grey reef shark for the shark tank, which will also have a 20-metre-long viewing tunnel.
The government was earlier planning to source penguins from Australia or New Zealand, but finally decided on African penguins as the “breeding season” of the former clashed with the timeline of the project.
African penguins breed on African mainland in countries like Namibia and South African. They have an average life span of 20 years and grow to be about 27.5 inches tall and has pink glands above their eyes.
“We are following international regulations. One cannot get these species from the wild. So, they will be brought from places where they are bred in captivity. We have also taken the approval of the Central Zoo Authority,” Dwivedi added without divulging the country from where the penguins and the sharks will be sourced.
“We will start bring the fishes by the end of January. They will be kept in quarantine for four to five months to ensure that they remain disease free, and by June 2019 we will open the gallery for public viewing,” he added.
The aquatic gallery spread in 10,244 square metres will house 11,256 fish belonging to 193 different species.
The gallery with 72 exhibit tanks will need 40 lakh litres of water that includes fresh, brackish and salty.
“No where in India, will you get an aquarium of this size,” the IAS officer said, adding that the gallery was being built by a cost of Rs 257.51 crore by a consortium of Shapporji Pallonji and Company Ltd and Marinescape Ltd.