Right from the beginning environmentalists and the opposition had slammed the decision for spending crores on importing the birds and for shelling out the hard earned tax payer’s money for their upkeep.
Nearly Rs 24 crore was spent in importing the birds from South Korea’s Coex Aquarium.
These birds are a native of Chile and Peru in South America.Rs 2.5 cr Amount was spent on procuring the penguins, Rs 19 cr Amount was spent on the enclosure and quarantine area in Byculla Zoo.Other costs involved four expert veterinarians on the panel with zero experience in upkeeping of the Humboldt penguins.
The NCP youth workers have put up posters in various parts of Mumbai, blaming the Shiv Sena for the death of the eighteen month old female penguin named “Dory”on Sunday 23rd October in the city.
Unfortunately for Thackeray and Shiv Sena, the penguin’s unmitigated death comes in the wake of the impending BMC elections.
Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) Sanjay Thakare from the Maharashtra Zoo Authority said, “The Byculla zoo has sent them the report regarding the details of the death of the Humboldt penguin and that they are working on it. According to Byculla Zoo, Director Dr.Sanjay Tripathi four doctors were currently on the expert panel for the penguins — Dr Madhumita Pai, Dr Nilesh Mhatre, Dr Ganesh Atole and Dr Rina Dev who were recruited by the contractor — Highway Construction Company (HCC). The company was responsible for building the enclosure and quarantine area, as well as keeping the penguins in good health.
An official from the zoo stated that The Humboldt penguin died due to the negligence of the zoo authorities.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner Sudhir Naik pointed out that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has directed Goatrade Farming Company, the procurement agency, to provide another penguin as replacement.The BMC has also written to the Bombay Veterinary Hospital to conduct an inspection of the premises where the penguins are quarantined.
MNS corporator Sandeep Deshpande has written to Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta demanding that the remaining seven Humboldts be immediately sent back to their homeland ensuring their survival as the harsh tropical climate of Mumbai and the lack of knowledge in upbringing of these flightless birds will surely take a toll on these poor little birds who have fallen target to the sheer ecstasy and the unplanned pet project of Yuva Sena Chief Aaditya Thackeray.
The least Aaditya Thackeray should have done, since it was his idea in the first place, was admit that the civic body was wrong and make arrangements for the birds to be sent back. If not that, he should have come out and assured citizens that a similar fate does not await the others,” said an animal activist to GPN network.
Stung by the MNS criticism that the pet project was implemented to fulfill son Aditya’s ” Sheer Childish Ecstasy ” Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray sharply countered by advising Mr Deshpande “to save the party before saving the penguins”.He further added that ,”This is a protest led by some “Panwati” – (I’ll Willed) persons who already are having “Sade Satti” ( Bad Times Always ).They should first save themselves instead of the penguins,” Mr Thackeray said without naming MNS.
Humboldt Penguins can only thrive in cold climate and not a warm place like Mumbai and that MNS and environmentalists had been protesting against acquiring such exotic creatures right from the beginning.