Mumbai: Byculla zoo likely to reopen by February 15
Over 11 months after it was shut due to the Covid-19 lockdown, Mumbai’s Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, also known as Byculla zoo, is likely to open its doors for the general public from February 15 under the state government’s Mission Begin Again, zoo officials said.
According to zoo authorities, a proposal to reopen Byculla zoo from February 15, 2021 has been submitted to municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal for approval. Post the approval , the zoo will be reopened.
However, owing to the outbreak of bird flu, the enclosure of over 200 exotic birds will be kept shut and other enclosures like those of tigers, penguins and leopards will remain open for the general public as usual.
In the past few months, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has allowed reopening of shops, malls, multiplexes, and theatres in the past as it seeks to boost commercial activities as part of the state government’s Mission Begin Again programme.
A Byculla zoo official said, “The proposal is expected to be discussed and a decision is likely by Friday. The zoo will be reopened while following Covid-19 norms with proper social distancing and sanitiser at several spots.”
The zoo official added, “We will ensure that we regulate the crowd inside the zoo, and if there are too many people, entry into the zoo will be halted for a while.”
The operational timings of the zoo will remain the same—between 9.30am and 6pm. The Byculla zoo received around 6,000 visitors during each weekday and over 8,000 visitors daily during weekends before the lockdown in March 2020.
But for now, the decision to reopen will be taken only after Chahal takes a final call on the proposal from zoo authorities. The BMC had shut Byculla zoo on March 15, 2020 around two days after deciding to shut restaurants, bars and gyms on March 13, 2020.
Meanwhile, a public address (PA) system will also be in place for announcements to avoid overcrowding. Notices and posters will also be put up at various locations within the zoo premises to make visitors aware about the viral outbreak.