Animal welfare board seeks probe in penguin’s death at Byculla Zoo | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Animal welfare board seeks probe in penguin’s death at Byculla Zoo

The animal welfare board of India (AWBI), a statutory advisory body which counsels the union government on animal welfare, wrote to the Centre on Wednesday seeking a detailed investigation into a penguin’s death at Byculla Zoo on Sunday.

mumbai Updated: Oct 28, 2016 11:10 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Dory, one of the eight Humboldt penguins brought to the Byculla Zoo, died of bacterial infection last week.
Dory, one of the eight Humboldt penguins brought to the Byculla Zoo, died of bacterial infection last week. (HT File Photo)

The animal welfare board of India (AWBI), a statutory advisory body which counsels the union government on animal welfare, wrote to the Centre on Wednesday seeking a detailed investigation into a penguin’s death at Byculla Zoo on Sunday.

“We request you to kindly investigate and take necessary action in this matter at the earliest and request you to inform the board regarding the action taken to safeguard the remaining seven penguins. It is also requested to forward the detailed report on the reason of death of the penguin,” read the letter by M Ravikumar, secretary, AWBI to the union ministry of environment and forests.

A copy of the AWBI’s letter was also sent to the member secretary, Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and the director of the Byculla Zoo. The zoo has refused to comment on the letter.

AWBI officials told HT that after the investigation the penguins need to be sent to a more hospitable environment. “We are aware about the deplorable condition of the Byculla zoo and have taken cognisance that they have no expertise to treat such birds. Penguins do not belong there and we will make sure that no such proposals are cleared from the highest level just for the sake of entertainment,” said Dr. Chinny Krishna, vice chairman, AWBI.

He added that from 2012 to 2014, the AWBI had written eight letters to the CZA highlighting the deplorable condition of animals at the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo and that the proposal for procuring the eight penguins should be scrapped.

HT had reported on Tuesday that officials from AWBI were disappointed with the death of one-and-a-half-year-old Dory due to bacterial infection at Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo. The AWBI had issued several warnings to the zoo since the proposal to acquire eight Humboldt penguins was first floated by the Shiv Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

On Wednesday, forest officers from various parts of Maharashtra met for a state wildlife advisory board meet in Mumbai. “We cannot reveal the details of Monday’s meeting yet but the safety of the penguins and the recent incident was one of the matters discussed,” said a senior forest officer on the condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, city-based activist Anand Siva, who had held several protests during the procurement of the penguins, wrote to CZA to shut down the zoo till investigations are completed.

“I have also written to Yuva-Sena chief Aditya Thackeray to understand the plight of the birds and shift them immediately to a safer sanctuary,” said Siva. “We are working on what could be some of the best locations where the birds can be provided the right expertise and proper care.”