The much-delayed penguin exhibit at Byculla zoo will be thrown open to the public from Saturday. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated the party’s pet project on Friday evening, taking digs at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s transparency promise.
“The penguins have been kept in a transparent exhibit. Anyone can visit and view them. Everything has been transparent,” said Uddhav Thackeray.Incidentally, the BJP skipped the inauguration.
Uddhav ji and the Mayor of Mumbai Mahadeshwar ji inaugurated the Humboldt Penguin 🐧 enclosure at Veer Jijamata Udyan (Mumbai Zoo) today— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) March 17, 2017
Thackeray congratulated the gathering for electing a mayor from the Shiv Sena for the fifth time in a row. He expressed confidence that Mumbai would elect the party to power in the future too.
After eight Humboldt penguins were brought to Mumbai from South Korea in July last year, one died of a stomach and liver infection. The remaining were quarantined soon after. Acting on a veterinarian’s orders, zoo officials decided to restrict the number of visitors to the exhibit.
A large number of visitors are expected at the zoo this weekend.The exhibit is a swanky 1550 -square-foot enclosure for penguins, which has been fitted with special chillers. Thackeray congratulated the civic administration for working hard on the exhibit. “Getting the penguins was a challenge. Many questioned our move, but now I will let our work speak for all those who criticised us,” added Thackeray.
Penguin enclosure is sure to be a massive attraction for tourists coming to our city, for students, for families wanting to spend a good day— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) March 17, 2017
Activists and Opposition parties criticised the Shiv Sena and the civic body for taking the penguins out of their natural habitat. The party was also targeted by its former-ally-turned-foe, the BJP, for pushing the administration to throw open the exhibit before the civic polls.
Civic officials have said that those wishing to visit the exhibit must be charged a separate entry fee. However, for now, the exhibit can be viewed for a nominal cost of Rs5, which is how much it costs to enter the zoo.
Civic officials plan to send a formal proposal to the group leaders, seeking a separate entry fee of Rs100 for adults and Rs50 for children younger than 12 who wish to view the penguins.