Animal lovers protested against the Byculla zoo's plans to bring Humboldt penguins to Mumbai. The zoo has been constructing a special climate-controlled enclosure for the birds that is set to be unveiled within this year. The animal activists said the BMC should first ensure the smooth functioning of the zoo in Byculla and demonstrate its ability to care for animals living there.
Anand Siva, an activist, said, “Have you seen the elephant enclosure? They are in chains in two sheds all day long, despite a large enclosure surrounded by a moat. There is a monkey with a deteriorating skin condition and is not being cared for. There is no veterinary doctor available at hand in the night. The penguins will suffer from a relocation crisis. There is also a ban on fresh inductions into the zoo by the courts."
While Mr. Siva insists that no new animals from abroad should be brought to tMumbai zoo, its administrator Dr. Sanjay Tripathi refutes the charges. He said, “There is so much being alleged without knowing the facts. The penguins are being bought from the Coex Aquarium in South Korea, where they were bred, and not from their natural habitat. These are Humboldt penguins from coastal habitats in Chile and Peru and live in a temperature zone between 4 and 25 degrees Celsius." Dr. Tripathi added, “The activists are also unaware that while the Humboldt penguins numbered in the lakhs during the 1950s in their natural habitat, their numbers sharply declined to around 12000 found in the wild today. On the other hand, conservation efforts by zoos across the globe have ensured their numbers gradually increasing from a few to the 3200 that have been bred in captivity and are in fact thriving in the 122 zoos across the world."
The writer is a freelance journalist
Activists said the condition of animals in the zoo was deplorable and they should be cared for