In the next few days, Mumbai will know whether Penguin egg is fertile or not

Mumbai: The time is ticking for the entire city to know if the first ever Penguin egg is fertile or not. This is the first egg laid in India, by the Penguins kept in Veer Jeejamata Udyan (Byculla zoo). The 40-day incubation period was completed on August 15 and now the doctors and officials are waiting in anticipation for the eggs to hatch anytime. The doctors are closely monitoring, since Mr Molt and Flipper are first time parents.

The veterinary doctor of the zoo, Madhumita Kale told Free Press Journal, the chances of an egg of a first time Penguin parents are not always high. “Since both are first-time-parents, there is a possibility the egg may not hatch a Penguin chick. Hence they are not being disturbed and I am personally monitoring on daily basis,” said Kale. She added, “Since the Penguins kept in the Byculla zoo are aggressive, the egg has been left untouched and the couple have been given their privacy.”

Sanjay Tripathi, the doctor, and in-charge of Byculla said a team of doctors are closely monitoring their movements. He also cautioned, if the egg hatches a baby chick, for next three months, visitors come to see the penguins but won’t be able to see the newborn penguin. The baby penguin will stay in the nest made by the parents by using sticks and pebbles. Also right now the visitors cannot see the hatching process as the parent penguins stay in the nest made by them.

Tripathi is aware of the high anticipation felt by Mumbaikars. A small girl has also handed over a letter to the zoo authority suggesting a few names. appreciated the enthusiasm. “It is a very sweet gesture and we are happy that people are excited for the newborn baby Penguin,” said Tripathi.

Also unlike human beings or other animals the mother Penguins do not lactate and so the only source of food given to the newborn is which the mother chews the food (usually fish) and take out the food to feed the newborn. This entire process of feeding goes for three months once the penguin is born, said, Kale.

At present, there are around eight penguins — Donald, Daisy, Popeye, Olive, Flipper (oldest female), Bubble, Mr Molt (youngest male) and Dory — who were brought from Seoul to the zoo. Dory had died a few months later in October 2016 due to bacterial infection which drew a lot of flak to the BMC.

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