Mumbai: Byculla Zoo's Penguins To Get An Extended Home, Not A New One

Mumbai: Byculla Zoo's Penguins To Get An Extended Home, Not A New One

Along with this, the civic body will also go ahead with its earlier plan of constructing a tunnel aquarium

SHEFALI PARAB-PANDITUpdated: Sunday, March 17, 2024, 09:43 PM IST
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Penguins at Byculla Zoo |

After failing to find a new home for the extended family of penguins, the BMC is now planning to expand its existing enclosure in Byculla zoo to accommodate 18 of them. Along with this, the civic body will also go ahead with its earlier plan of constructing a tunnel aquarium. The estimated cost of this aquarium is around Rs60 crore. Visitors will get an opportunity to visit these new exhibits by next year.

Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan's penguins

Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and zoo (Rani Baug) brought three male and five female penguins from Coex Aquarium, Seoul, in October 2016.

With baby penguins being born in the last seven years, their numbers have increased to 18. The zoo authorities are also prepared to engage in penguin exchanges with other zoos across the country. However, the building and maintaining cost of the enclosures for the penguins is high. So, the civic body has invited a tender to expand its existing penguin exhibit.

The current exhibit of penguins has a 1,750 sqft area and a 150 sqft accommodation space. As per the norms, the current aquarium can accommodate 25 penguins. The civic body has decided to build an aquarium which can accommodate at least 46 different species of aquatic flora and fauna and expansion of the penguin aquarium behind the current one, said the civic sources.

The plan to set up a world-class aqua gallery at the zoo was earlier scrapped when Aaditya Thackeray announced a mega aquarium at Worli during his stint as tourism minister in 2022.

As per the plan, the aquarium will have a dome-shaped entrance and two acrylic walk-through tunnels. A -14 metre tunnel will be exclusively for coral fish, while another 36-metre-long tunnel will be reserved for deep ocean aquatic species. The construction of both the projects is expected to be completed within one-and-half months. The deadline for bid submission is April 5.

5 animals died in 2022-23

As per the animal inventory, data from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) revealed that 50 animals, birds and reptiles have died at the zoo over the past year. However, zoo officials said, the mortality rate has decreased. The majority of the deaths were due to old-age. Meanwhile, Godfrey Pimenta, founder of WatchDog Foundation, has requested the state government to conduct an inquiry in this matter.

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