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Delhi Zoo disappointed as ostrich eggs fail to hatch

New Delhi: Much to the dismay of authorities here at Delhi Zoo, 10 eggs laid by a female ostrich recently failed to hatch as they were unfertilised, officials said.  “Ten eggs laid by a two-and-a-half-year-old
PTI August 17, 2014 12:29 IST
PTI
New Delhi: Much to the dismay of authorities here at Delhi Zoo, 10 eggs laid by a female ostrich recently failed to hatch as they were unfertilised, officials said.  

“Ten eggs laid by a two-and-a-half-year-old ostrich failed to hatch as they were unfertilised,” said zoo curator (education), Riyaz Khan.

Usually, the incubation period for ostrich eggs ranges from 45 to 55 days.

However, when authorities tested the eggs after 62 days, long past the incubation period, they were found to be unfertilised, he said.

Unfavourable weather conditions, including rainfall and change in temperatures, may be the factors behind the eggs not getting fertilised, he added.

“The ostrich had laid eggs in an open area. Light showers and change in temperature may have resulted in the eggs not getting fertilised,” he said.

This is the first time in 20 years that an ostrich laid eggs at the zoo here.

In March this year, a pair of ostriches was brought to Delhi Zoo from Thiruvananthapuram Zoo and soon became one of the main attractions for the visitors.

Before being brought to Delhi, the female ostrich had already laid seven eggs in Thiruvananthapuram. At the zoo here, it laid 10 eggs in June this year with the authorities hoping they would hatch after the incubation period.  

Meanwhile, zoo authorities said they have no plans to bring in more ostriches under the inter-zoo exchange programme. However, strict measures, like the provision of a covered area for the eggs, would be implemented for protection from unsuitable weather conditions.

Efforts are also on to be better prepared the next time.  “We have started making arrangements. Ostrich usually lay eggs once a year. We are now hoping that the female will lay eggs around November next year,” said Panneer Selvam, the veterinary officer at Delhi Zoo.

Also, to boost rhinoceros numbers at Delhi Zoo, authorities are in talks with a few zoos in the country to bring in a male rhino here, months after the lone male rhino, ‘Shiva', died of cancer.