After the death of one of the eight Humboldt penguins in Byculla Zoo, Shiv Sena’s nominated corporator Avakash Jadhav has submitted a 12-point demand to municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta to improve the condition of the zoo, including cleanliness, better animal enclosures and management.
Some of the demands include quarterly audit of infrastructure and facilities in the zoo, weekly health check-up of animals and birds and check on water contamination. Jadhav — who had opposed the Sena’s plan to bring the penguins into the zoo — has also asked administration to involve experts and activists in maintaining the zoo.
Taking ahead the Sena’s dream to expand the zoo, Jadhav also highlighted the demand for the zoo’s expansion and stated that the zoo should be maintained better and it should not be treated as a facility to store animals.
He has also submitted a survey that stated that 86% or 3,096 of the total respondents (3,600) who visited the zoo feel that the animal enclosures are not well maintained, highlighting the cleanliness issue in the zoo which in turn has an impact on the animals’ health and well-being. About 2,880 people also felt that animals in zoo are not well taken care of. Another 3,528 people felt that the size of the cages were not appropriate for the animals while 62% of visitors surveyed felt that BMC is not putting efforts in maintaining the zoo.
The makeover of the zoo demanded by a Jadhav also includes designing and building an animal enclosure, a quarantine centre, a well-equipped animal hospital and exploration centres. Animals such as a tiger, Asiatic lion, exotic fish and a zebra are to be brought in as part of the expansion project.
A pet project of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, expansion of the zoo was planned nine years ago. However, the first phase of the project is yet to begin four years after a revised master plan was approved by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in New Delhi.