While visitors will be allowed outside all animal enclosures, the bird habitat will be kept shut keeping in view the avian flu epidemic.
Mumbai's Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Vatika(VJBUV) commonly known as the Byculla zoo is likely to open for the public on Feb 15, after remaining shut for 11 months due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown. With the dropping cases and accelerated vaccination drives, the state government initiated Mission Begin Again to bring the city back to stable times. And as a part of the same, a proposal to reopen the zoo from February 15, has been made.
Visitors to be allowed in the zoo once the Commissioner approves
According to the reports, the plan for welcoming visitors to the zoo by February 15 has been sent to the municipal commissioner and it would be implemented once it's approved. While the visitors will be allowed to all animal enclosures like those of tigers, leopards and penguins, the bird habitat will remain closed, keeping in view the epidemic of avian flu.
The current development comes as a part of Mumbai's civic body's ongoing attempts to revive all public spaces under the 'Mission Begin Again'. In a step to fuel commercial ventures in the city, shops, malls, multiplexes and theatres were opened for the public recently. A senior representative informed that the final decision about opening the zoo is expected by Friday.
Strict measures to prevent the threat of the ongoing pandemic
Meanwhile, the zoo authorities are trying to ensure that the social distancing measures are carefully implemented and sanitisers are available at regular intervals after the zoo starts welcoming visitors. The zoo administration will keep a strict watch on the number of visitors in the complex at a given time, stopping entry if too much crowd gathers flouting the COVID-19 guidelines. In order to regulate crowds in the zoo, an announcement system will be functional in addition to posters and boards for spreading awareness regarding the pandemic. Visitors will be allowed on the zoo campus between 9.30 AM and 6 PM.
According to the records, around 6,000 and 8,000 individuals visited the zoo on weekdays and weekends respectively before the lockdown was imposed. After the facility is revived, it would soon garner considerable footfall by the city folks. The zoo, shut on March 15, 2020, will be opened only after the final approval is received from the Municipal Commissioner.