Pen­guins given sand, peb­bles to build nests

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - [email protected]­

Mum­bai: Bam­boos, sand and peb­bles are what doc­tors have be­gun to pro­vide the colony of seven Hum­boldt pen­guins at Veer­mata Ji­jabai Bhon­sle Udyan, pop­u­larly known as By­culla Zoo, ahead of breed­ing months. These pen­guins are known to breed be­tween March and De­cem­ber and be­gin build­ing their nests a month or two in ad­vance. Zoo doc­tors are hope­ful that the birds will suc­cess­fully breed this year.

A zoo doc­tor said, “The male pen­guin is the one who brings all the ma­te­rial re­quired for the nest while the fe­male ar­ranges it ac­cord­ing to her wish. The fe­male shows whether she is im­pressed or not with the ma­te­rial the male brings to the nest­ing area. Since these birds are in cap­tiv­ity, we need to pro­vide them Tragedy at the zoo

July 5, 2018

Mr Molt and Flip­per

pair of

Aug 15

| It hatched af­ter around 40 days

Aug 22

| Pen­guin laid an egg

| Chick died due to birth anom­alies such as yolk sac re­ten­tion and liver dys­func­tion with sticks, peb­bles and sand re­quired for their nests”

Zoo doc­tors have no­ticed that Mr Molt, known as the most mis­chevi­ous among the seven birds, steals the nest­ing ma­te­rial the pen­guin pair of Don­ald and Daisy has been putting to­gether, as his own part­ner, Flip­per, is cur­rently molt­ing, which is the process of shed­ding feath­ers, and there­fore is not in a po­si­tion to work on their nest.

April and Septem­ber are known to be the peak breed­ing months among these pen­guins. Only if they lay an egg in April is there a pos­si­bil­ity of them breed­ing again in Septem­ber. Last year, though, it was ob­served that the pair of Mr Molt and Flip­per laid an egg in July and the chick hatched in Au­gust, though it did not sur­vive.

“The pair did not breed again last year, prob­a­bly be­cause the two are very young,” said a source.

Cur­rently, all seven pen­guins are aged be­tween 3.5 and five years. The youngest among them are Mr Molt and Bub­ble at 3.5 years. Molt’s part­ner Flip­per is the old­est at five. All pen­guins, ex­cept Bub­ble, have found part­ners—Molt and Flip­per, Don­ald and Daisy, Olive and Pop­eye.

On July 26, 2016, three male and five fe­male pen­guins were brought to Mum­bai zoo from Coex Aquaeium, Seoul, South Korea. They were put out for pub­lic view­ing in March 2017.

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