First penguin born in India dies in Mumbai zoo

First penguin born in India dies in Mumbai zoo

The Humboldt penguin died of multiple complications, the Veer Jijabai Bhosale Udyan & Zoo at Byculla said on Friday. PTI Photo

In what comes as a shock,  the baby Humboldt penguin born in the Mumbai Zoo on the Independence Day has died. 

The Humboldt penguin died of multiple complications, the Veer Jijabai Bhosale Udyan & Zoo at Byculla said on Friday.

A day after the chick died, a post-mortem was conducted at the Bombay Veterinary College at Parel.

The preliminary investigation that there were problems like yolk sac retention and liver dysfunction. The parents, however, were taking good care of the penguin before it died suddenly. 

"The chick development was also proper," zoo officials said, adding that references on management of penguins show that 60 per cent mortality is expected because of reasons like infertility of egg, malpositioning of chick inside the egg, failure to hatch on its own, chick deformity, inability of parents to feed, yolk sac retention, residual albumin among others.

Besides, the Association of Zoos and Aquarium Species Survival Plan and a scientific paper on artificial incubation and hand-rearing of Humboldt penguins mentions about 30 to 35 per cent mortality rate of chicks less than 30 days of age and the first three months are crucial.

They said that parents Mr Molt and Flipper has shown good parent behaviour. "We are hopeful of better results of breeding and chick survival in future," zoo officials said.

Eight Humboldt penguins – Donald, Daisy, Popeye, Olive, Flipper, Bubble, Mr Molt and Dory – were brought here from Seoul in South Korea, in 26, July 2016. However, Dory could not survive and died on 23 October 2016, because of a bacterial infection.

Last month, the caretakers at the Byculla Zoo found that the nest built by the penguin pair — Mr Molt and Flipper — had an egg. Generally, it takes around 40 days for the egg to incubate.

The special enclosure - is spread across 1,700 sq ft - where temperature range of 16 to 18 degree C would be maintained and the penguins would feed on fish. Water quality is monitored at regular intervals and there are several support systems that have been created. Within the group.

There are two mating seasons: March-April and October-November. The Humboldt penguins pair up during the entire mating period. After mating, a female penguin lays eggs in a month and a half, and both parents take turns to incubate them.

The Humboldt penguin (also termed Chilean penguin, or patranca) is a South American penguin, that breeds in coastal Chile and Peru. Its nearest relatives are the African penguin, the Magellanic penguin and the Galápagos penguin.

The penguin is named after the cold water current it swims in, which is itself named after Alexander von Humboldt, an explorer. Humboldt penguins are medium-sized penguins, growing to 56–70 cm (22–28 in) long and a weight of 3.6-5.9 kg (8-13 lbs).