Free Press Journal

Mumbai: 45,000 flock to Byculla Zoo to get a glimpse of penguins


Mumbai: Around 45, 000 people have visited the Byculla zoo till Monday in order to get a glance of the exotic birds. Though the civic officials were expecting around 7000 visitors, they were amused by the number of people that turned up at the zoo. A civic official said that people from different states also had visited the zoo.

Three days after the penguin enclosures were inaugurated by Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray, the Byculla zoo witnessed an influx of visitors on Sunday due to which the officials closed the entries early.

While the officials allowed entries till 6 pm, the rest of the visitors who had queued up outside the entrance were sent back. A civic official confirmed that around 12,000 people had visited the zoo on Saturday and 25, 000 visitors on Sunday.

However, the number of visitors reduced to 10,000 on Monday. Finally to keep a check and control at the crowd the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials have decided to shut the gates of the zoo earlier than its previous official timing. From here onwards the Byculla zoo gates will close at 5:00 pm and the penguin enclosure gates will shut at 5:45.

According to new directives issued by the zoo director Dr Sanjay Tripathi, the main gates of the zoo will close at 5:00 pm, however, the last tickets to the visitors will be distributed by 5.30 pm.  Tripathi has directed the staff to clear the penguin area by 5.45 pm as no visitor will be allowed after 6 pm.

The penguin project was criticised after the death of a female Humboldt penguin named Dory due to a brief illness. The civic body plans to charge an additional fee from April 1 for an access to the penguin enclosures. Reportedly, the civic body will charge Rs 100 for Adult and Rs 50 for Child. At present, visitors have to pay Rs5 for entry at the Zoo.


Enclosures develop cracks

Days after the Humboldt penguin enclosures were inaugurated at Byculla zoo, Watchdog foundation on Monday alleged that the swimming pool rocks of the enclosure developed cracks at two places which are around 3 to 4 mm wide. However, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation officials have refuted such claims saying that the alleged spots are ‘normal’ cracks.

Godfrey Pimenta, member of the Watchdog Foundation, said that two members of the foundation noticed cracks during their visit to the zoo. “Our members were shocked to notice that the swimming pool rocks at two places have developed cracks. The civic officials have hurriedly inaugurated the enclosure without a proper check,” said Pimenta. He added that one of the fractures is one foot in length and up to 4mm wide.

Byculla zoo director Sanjay Tripathi said, “There is no need to worry as the cracks are natural. The glass reinforced concrete (GRC) material has been used over the rock and it looks like it has developed a crack.”