Byculla zoo to get hospital; underwater gallery for reptile enclosures
The Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan or Byculla zoo will now get it’s very own veterinary hospital for large animals, within the zoo premises, complete with an operation theatre room, incubators, and X-ray rooms. This plan is a part of a new project taken up at the zoo, which includes the construction of an underwater viewing facility for alligators and crocodiles. The zoo presently has an in-house veterinary clinic for small animals and birds.
Dr Sanjay Tripathi, director of the zoo said, “As part of the zoo expansion plan, we will bring in many exotic large animals, such as giraffe even. The hospital is being made in preparation for that. The underwater viewing gallery for ghariyal (reptiles) is going to be one of the major attractions. As per the design conceptualised now, there will be a steep slope that will take tourists to an underwater viewing area.”
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) recently floated tenders for this project. The cost of the project is ₹50 crore, and includes other construction works in the zoo premises, such as animal holdings for the reptiles, construction of water bodies with 10 lakh litre capacity, landscaping work, quarantine facility for aquatic, arboreal and territorial work, and other plumbing electric work.
As part of phase 3 of the zoo expansion project, BMC will bring in animals such as giraffe, zebra, white lion, black jaguar, chimpanzees, oryx, emu, cassowary, ostrich, okapi, ringtail lemur, and cheetah. Phase-3 of the work includes building an aviary for exotic bird species. In the first phase, BMC had brought eight Humboldt penguins to the zoo. The second phase which is underway includes the construction of 17 animal enclosures in the 53-acre zoo premises. The third phase includes the construction of the 15 enclosures for exotic animal species in the adjoining 7-acre plot.
Zoo to reopen from Monday
The Byculla zoo will reopen for public from Monday February 15, after 11 months of remaining closed owing to the lockdown due to covid-19. Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on Friday approved the zoo authorities’ proposal for reopening the zoo. The operational timings of the zoo will remain the same—between 9.30am and 6pm.
In a statement issued on Friday, BMC urged senior citizens, pregnant women, and children below five years of age to avoid visiting the zoo, or take extra care during their visit. Wearing of masks is compulsory for entry into the zoo premises, vehicles entering the premises will be disinfected at the entrance. BMC will install a public announcement system throughout the premises for crowd control and to ensure social distancing.