A group of eight Humboldt penguins reached Mumbai’s Byculla zoo from South Korea during the wee hours of Tuesday. This is the first time an Indian zoo will have penguins on display.
The penguins arrived in the city around midnight and reached the zoo at 4 am. They were accompanied by a trainer, who will be spending the next three months with the Byculla zoo staff to train them.
A Humboldt penguin is typically found in the colder regions of South America, mainly Peru and Chile. Of the 8 penguins brought to the city, three are male, three female and the remaining two are female infants.
During the first three months, the penguins will be housed in an isolated temperature-controlled environment to get them accustomed to the change in location. Post which, they will be housed in a 1,500 sq.ft. exhibition area comprising of pools, artificial habitat, feeding area, water pump and more.
“The construction of the enclosure and exhibition area is going to take some time. So visitors will not be allowed to see the penguins till everything is ready and they have settled into their new environment. By current estimate, visitors should be able to see the penguins by sometime around mid-November,” added a civic official.
The zoo authorities have already made arrangements for feeding the penguins. Meanwhile, Australian agency Oceanis has been roped in for taking care of the penguins till 2021, following which the staff will take over the duty.
The decision to introduce penguins in the zoo was taken by the Shiv Sena-led civic body after the 2012 civic elections. Since then, the party has been fastidiously monitoring the progress pertaining to the construction of the enclosures and other formalities pertaining to their arrival.
Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray is believed to have personally visited the zoo multiple times to check the progress.
The BMC has reportedly spent around Rs 2.5 crores on the purchase of the penguins and another Rs 6.5 crore on the construction of the their enclosure.
— laxman singh (@Laxmantweetsss) July 26, 2016
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Amchi Mumbai is proud owner of humbolt penguins. Finally 9 yrs wait is over pic.twitter.com/3LjmtihNC3
— Geeta Desai (@DesaiGeeta) July 26, 2016