Mumbai, Sept. 7 — The authorities of Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan (Byculla zoo) have decided to get two male and one female Humboldt penguins to its existing penguin enclosure next year. The penguins are likely to be brought from Seoul, South Korea.

Sanjay Tripathi, the zoo’s director, told HT, “We are going to get three more Humboldt penguins next year at the Byculla zoo. There is a set procedure that has to be followed to get the penguins, including clearance from the Central Zoo Authority. The procedure may take time, considering our current priority is to get a lion and a leopard for public view by year end.”

The enclosure already houses seven Humboldt penguins, Bubble, Mr Molt, Donald, Daisy, Popeye, Olive and Flipper, which have been put for display for more than two years now.

In July 26, 2016, the zoo authorities had brought eight Humboldt penguins, three males and five females from Seoul. However, the same year, one of the male penguins, Dory, died on October 23,due to bacterial infection, which led to an uproar against the zoo authorities’ decision.

Among the Humboldt penguins which the zoo will procure in 2020, the male penguin will be procured under the defect liability period following Dory’s death. As per the zoo authorities, of the seven penguins in the enclosure currently, five are female, and thus, they need one more male penguin for mating.

With the increase in the number of attractions in the zoo, the authorities are planning to hike its entry fee. At present, the entry fee is Rs.50 for an adult, Rs.25 for a child and Rs.100 for a family, consisting two adults and two children. Earlier in?August 2017, the fee for adults was increased from Rs.5 to Rs.50.

Authorities say that despite this hike, the number of visitors have increased owing to the attractions of the zoo. As per the zoo authorities, they earned a revenue of Rs.10.57 crore between April 2017 and July 2019, after around 25.46 lakh visitors visited the zoo. The visitor count surged since March 2018, after the penguins were put on public view, the authorities said. During weekdays, the visitor count at the zoo is between 7,000 and 10,000, while during weekdays and holidays, its surges past 15,000.

Tripathi added, “The visitor count has gone up despite the fact that we hiked the fee in 2017. For now, we are not increasing the fee, but as we keep adding the number of attractions, the fee might have to be increased. Operating a zoo is not a profit-earning exercise for the government, but as of now, we hardly earn Rs.6 crore to Rs.7 crore annually, while our annual expenditure is around Rs.20 crore.”

By November, the Byculla zoo authorities plan to procure a pair of leopards for its revamped enclosure.

Along with the leopards, the authorities will also procure two pairs of lions by December 2019 from zoo in Junagadh at Gujarat.

Source from HT media