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Tiny feet likely at Mumbai zoo penguin enclosure soon?

Civic officials said close to 10,000 people have been visiting the zoo daily, since the enclosure was opened

mumbai Updated: Apr 03, 2017 10:13 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
Tanushree Venkatraman
Hindustan Times
Byculla zoo,Humboldt penguins,BMC
Six of zoo’s 7 penguins have paired up, are at ‘sub-adult’ age when mating starts.(HT File Photo)

As the mating period for the penguins at Byculla zoo has started, Mumbaiites may soon get to see additional tiny feet in the enclosure. Of the seven Humboldt penguins at the zoo — three males and four females — six have paired up.

The penguins are all two-and-a-half to three years old. This age, called the ‘sub-adult’ age, is when penguins usually look for life partners to eventually mate with.

Dr Sanjay Tripathi, director, Byculla zoo, said he was hopeful that chicks would be born soon. “Penguins usually start mating when they are older than three. They have two mating seasons, one is from April to May, while the second is from October to November,” he said.

According to the PenguinWorld website, Humboldt penguins are a south American species native to Peru and Chile. They have an incubation period of 39 to 42 days and usually lay two eggs. The male and female take turns to care for their offspring. The penguins at Byculla zoo are named after popular cartoon characters. Of them, Popeye and Olive, Molt and Bubbles and Donald and Daisy have partnered up, while Flipper, a female penguin, has not yet found a mate. The penguins were shifted to their current exhibit on March 9. The 1,550-square-feet enclosure is soundproof and fitted with special chillers. Civic officials said close to 10,000 people have been visiting the zoo daily, since the enclosure was opened.

On Saturday, the group leader in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) passed a proposal to hike the entry fee for the penguin exhibit from Rs5 to Rs100. The proposal has to be passed by the BMC’s general body before it can be implemented.


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First Published: Apr 03, 2017 09:18 IST