India's first-born Humboldt penguin chick dies at Mumbai zoo within a week of its birth

Mumbai: The first-ever Humboldt penguin chick born in the country has died within a week of its birth.

The birth of baby penguin at the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, also called Byculla Zoo, on Independence Day had brought much cheer, it being the first penguin birth in the country. In a statement, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said despite best-possible care, the chick died on Wednesday night.

Autopsy report revealed that there were anomalies such as "yolk sac retention" and liver dysfunction which caused the death, it said. After two penguins at the zoo, Molt (male) and Flipper (female), mated, Flipper laid a single egg on 5 July, and it hatched successfully on 15 August.

"Despite the parent penguins providing good care, the condition of the chick was found to be sinking. All efforts were made by the veterinary team to save it, but the chick was found dead on the night of 22 August," the statement said.

Humboldt penguin chick born in Mumbai Zoo.

Humboldt penguin chick born in Mumbai Zoo. ANI

The zoo authorities said the first three months are always crucial, and mortality rate of chicks in this period is 30 to 35 percent. Other penguins in the zoo were in good health, they said.

Eight penguins — named Daisy, Dory, Donald, Bubbles, Flipper, Olive, Popeye and Molt (five of them female) — were procured from Coex Aquarium in Seoul, South Korea in July 2016.

Dory died in quarantine three months after the penguins were brought to India because of bacterial infection. Animal rights activists had slammed the BMC then, even moving the high court and alleging that conditions in India were not conducive for the species. But the high court refused to interfere.

The zoo authorities built a special enclosure with an appropriate temperature for the penguins. Since they were made available for public viewing, there has been a jump in the zoo's ticket revenue.

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Updated Date: Oct 30, 2018 15:25:55 IST