The penguins’ procurement had drawn much flak since it was feared that they wouldn’t survive in humid Mumbai. Pics/ Suresh Karkera
Eight months since their procurement, seven Humboldt penguins will finally greet visitors at the Byculla zoo, beginning tomorrow. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will inaugurate the penguins’ 1,800-sqft enclosure at 6 pm.
The penguins — Bubble, Olive, Flipper, Daisy, Popeye, Donald and Molt — aged 2-3, have Byculla zoo authorities and doctors on call.
The penguins' caretaker reacts as they rush to her for food. The flippers, whose diet largely comprises sardines and eel, have also developed a taste for Bombay duck
Since the inauguration will be in the evening, public viewing will begin only at 9 am on Saturday.
Zoo authorities shifted the penguins to their new home — they were earlier in quarantine — last week to allow them to acclimatise themselves to their new habitat.
The Penguins were moved from a 250-sqft quarantine enclosure to their 1,800-sqft permanent home on March 6
A senior official said the transfer to the new home was postponed twice owing to an incomplete enclosure and poor quality of water. "Now, everything is in place and we are making the penguins comfortable in a bigger home. As of now, we have not seen any unusual activity and all seven penguins seem comfortable."
Although eight penguins were brought from Seoul, South Korea, last July, one of them — Dory — died of an intestinal infection on October 23, 2016. The procurement, which cost Rs 2.5 crore, had come under fire fearing that Humboldt penguins cannot acclimatise to Mumbai’s humid weather. The zoo’s poor facilities for the flippers had also drawn flak.