Mumbai, Aug 16 (IANS) Nature lovers were thrilled as India’s first Humboldt Penguin chick was hatched at the Mumbai Zoo, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials said on Thursday.
“The Humboldt Penguin chick hatched at 8.02 p.m. on August 15. It appeared to be active and the mother Flipper was tring to feed it too,” said Zoo Director in-charge Sanjay Tripathi.
Following a clamour from people, the BMC announced his evening that the chick will go up for viewing only after two-three months, till when it will be cared for by its parents.
After mating in captivity, the Penguin pair, Mr Molt and Flipper, finally delivered an egg in early-July at the Veer Jijabai Bhonsale Udyan, or Mumbai Zoo, proving a big morale-booster for the BMC which was under heavy fire for importing the endangered flightless birds from COEX Aquarium, Seoul.
As an anxious team of zoo caretakers, vets and others kept vigil for nearly 40 days, the egg was finally hatched late on Wednesday and the small fluffy chick struggled out to freedom in its nest inside the special chilled enclosure where all the penguins have been kept.
The BMC said both parents are taking good care of their chick which is currently in the nest. Its gender will be determined after a DNA test.
While Mr Molt is the youngest male, Flipper is the oldest female in the zoo’s penguin colony which attracts hordes of excited visitors daily.
The special enclosure is spread across 1,700 sqft where an average temperature of 16-18 degrees is maintained, the water quality is regularly tracked and the Penguins are fed on fish, including Indian Mackerals.
Eight Humboldt Penguins, three males, three females and two babies – later named as Dory, Donald, Daisy, Popeye, Olive, Bubble, Flipper and Mr Molt — were imported from the South Korean zoo on July 26, 2016.
However, one female, Dory could not survive and died on October 23 following a bacterial infection during the period of acclimatization, and remain the top attraction of the Mumbai Zoo.
The Humboldt Penguins, acquired for Rs 2 crore, belong to a species found on the chilly coasts of Peru and Chile, and have a life-span of around 25 years.