The public may get to view the seven Humboldt penguins kept in quarantine for more than seven months, by next week. However, as some hurdles still remain, the administration has not settled a date by which the exhibit will be unveiled.
After a prolonged delay in completing construction on the enclosures, an unsatisfactory report by the microbiologist who tested water samples from the exhibit is what is delaying the process further.
Civic officials insisted that the work on the exhibit has been completed and that the penguins are healthy enough to be moved from the quarantine area to their permanent exhibit.
However, the civic body received a report, in which microbiologists have stated that potential of hydrogen (pH) in the penguins’ water is higher than the standard. Another set of water samples collected from the exhibit will be sent for testing on Friday. Civic officials said they do not want to leave anything to chance after one of the female penguins died. A second set of water samples will help the civic body confirm the state of the enclosure.
“Water samples from the exhibit were tested two days ago. The report was unsatisfactory. After cleaning the exhibit, water samples will be sent to the laboratory again on Friday. We are likely to receive the report 24 hours after submitting the samples. Construction of the enclosures has been completed. Once we receive a positive report, we will immediately throw open the exhibit to the public,” said a senior civic officer.
Shiv Sena leaders are pushing for the exhibit to be inaugurated before a new mayor is elected on March 8. The old civic house still exists, and as the majority party, the Shiv Sena is pressuring the administration to open the enclosure before its term expires.The existing body of corporators, which had approved the proposal to get the penguins to Byculla zoo, want the inauguration to be conducted before their term ends. According to civic sources, the current Shiv Sena mayor Snehal Ambekar has written to civic chief Ajoy Mehta, asking him to let Uddhav Thackeray inaugurate the exhibit by March 7.