The Bombay High Court declined to stay the public exhibition of seven penguins, brought from South Korea to the Byculla zoo, saying it cannot hastily conclude that they are not taken proper care.
A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni was hearing a petition filed by advocate Advait Sethna seeking a direction to the civic body to send the Humboldt penguins back saying they were not being taken good care and that they were endangered species, which need a certain kind of environment.
Sethna sought interim direction to BMC not to display the penguins to public pending hearing of the petition.
The BMC today told the court that on March 7 the penguins will be shifted from the quarantine area to the enclosure made especially for them. However, no date has been fixed so far regarding their exhibition to public.
“We cannot come to a conclusion that the penguins are not being taken care of properly. We are not going to stop the exhibition. Why should Mumbaikars not enjoy such penguins? Are there no penguin shows in other countries?” Chief Justice Chellur asked.
The bench posted the petition for further hearing after two weeks.
Earlier, the BMC in an affidavit filed in response to the petition assured the court that utmost care and precaution has been taken to provide the penguins a healthy and conducive environment.
The penguins, brought in July 2016, are at present kept in a quarantine area in the civic body-run Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo at Byculla in south Mumbai.
While eight penguins were brought, one of them died within three months in the zoo.
“We have taken utmost care and precaution for providing a healthy and conducive environment for the management of the Humboldt penguins and therefore there is no question of sending them back.
“In fact the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo is the only zoo in India, which has the facilities to exhibit these penguins,” the affidavit filed by Sanjay Tripathi, Director of the zoo had said.