Penguin with an Indian passport! Byculla zoo welcomes country’s first baby penguin

Penguin with an Indian passport! Byculla zoo welcomes country's first baby penguin
The baby penguin was born at 8:02 pm on August 15

Mumbai’s Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, more commonly known as the Byculla Zoo, welcomed the first ‘born in India’ Humboldt penguin on Independence Day yesterday.

The penguin baby, or ‘chick’, was born at 8:02 pm on Wednesday and is the first one to be born in captivity in the country. The offspring is in a stable condition and is currently kept under observation.

The zoo authorities will name the baby after its sex is determined following a DNA test later today.

The chick was born to Flipper and Mr. Molt, two of the eight penguins brought to the city by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in 2016. Flipper’s the oldest female among the lot, while Mr. Molt is the youngest male.

According to officials, Flipper laid the egg on July 5. Since then, the ‘couple’ have been diligently guarding it from the other penguins and zoo staff. The egg hatched after 40 days, in line with the normal incubation period for the species.

The staff has reportedly cordoned off an area inside the penguin enclosure where the baby will be housed. They have also provided the penguin parents with pebbles and twigs to build their nest, which will only be accessible to them.

Apart from Flipper and Mr. Molt, six other penguins – Daisy, Donald, Popeye, Olive, Bubble, and Dory – were brought to the city from Seoul, South Korea in July 2016.

Despite months of planning, they were only shifted to their permanent temperature-controlled enclosure in March 2017. By then, one of the penguins – Dory – had died of a bacterial infection.

The decision to bring penguins to Byculla zoo had met with some controversy earlier, with animal activists advising against the move, citizen groups raising concerns over the lack of facilities and opposition parties slamming the Shiv Sena-controlled BMC for the exaggerated costs.

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