First Humboldt penguin chick born in India dies in Mumbai zoo

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Mumbai, Aug 24 (IANS) The first-ever Humboldt penguin, born in Mumbai zoo last week, died here two days ago, an official said here on Friday.

Hatched on August 15, the penguin died on August 22 (Wednesday), shocking the zoo authorities.

An autopsy was performed by a three-member team of the Bombay Veterinary College, Parel, at the zoo hospital.

The preliminary report revealed that the chick suffered from “new-born anomalies like yolk sac retention and liver dysfunction” resulting in its death.

The Veermata Jijabai Bhonsale Udyan & Zoo authorities said that parents of the chick — Mr. Molt and Flipper — took good care of it after it was hatched, but it failed to survive.

However, it is not clear why the development was kept under wraps by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for more than two days though the chick’s birth had generated huge enthusiasm among Mumbaikars.

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After mating in captivity, the penguin pair Mr Molt and Flipper, finally delivered an egg in early-July at the BMC’s VJBU, or Mumbai Zoo, proving a big morale-booster for the civic body which had come under heavy fire for importing the endangered flightless birds from South Korea.

Eight Humboldt Penguins, three males, three females and two chicks — later named as Dory, Donald, Daisy, Popeye, Olive, Bubble, Flipper and Mr Molt — were imported here from Seoul’s COEX Aquarium on July 26, 2016.

However, one female, Dory could not survive and died on October 23 (2016) following a bacterial infection during the period of acclimatization.

After Dory’s death, questions were raised on the wisdom of keeping these birds in hot Indian climatic conditions, especially since 2000, as they figure on the “Vulnerable” category in the Red List of International Union for Conservation of Nature, Switzerland.

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The Humboldt penguins have a life-span of around 25 years.

–IANS

qn/nir/sed

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