KARACHI, May 28: The birth of two ostrich chicks at the Karachi Zoological Gardens on Monday, a couple of days after the birth of two blue peacocks and an equal number of fawns, has helped ease the gloom that had pervaded the zoo in recent months after a series of casualties there.
While the zoo has more than 35 fallow deer and 11 blue peacocks, it is left with only three ostriches — two females and a male — after the last year death of a male ostrich.
“It’s great that we got two ostrich chicks today,” said a jubilant zoo director Bashir Saddozai while talking to Dawn on Monday. “The entire zoo staff has been eagerly waiting for the good news for more than 40 days.”
According to him, the zoo is taking special care of the ostrich chicks and some eggs, which may also hatch soon, to protect them from crows and cats. Two guards with air guns have been posted at the enclosure to keep predators away and the security measures remain in place at night.
About the chicks, senior veterinarian Dr Kazim Hussain said that ostrich eggs with those of peacocks were naturally incubated and hatched. He expressed the hope that more ostrich chicks would come out of their shells within the next 24 hours.
“It is the first time at the zoo that ostrich chicks are born without the help of an incubator,” he added.
Regarding their feed, he said the young ones were left without feed for 24 hours to prevent them from a disease called omphalitis.
“The egg yolk takes about 24 hours to get absorbed completely in the chick’s body and nothing is offered to the young one during this period,” he said, adding that once this period was over, crushed maize would be fed to the chicks. This would be followed by a prepared feed bought in the market.
Regarding the two fawns born to a pair of fallow deer, Dr Kazim said he hoped more babies would be born to deer species as it was their, along with other animals’, breeding period that would continue till July.
The zoo had recently lost its lone Arabian oryx and a male wallaby. Earlier, three pups born to a pair of common jackals went missing only a day after their birth. The zoo staff said they were eaten up by their mother. Three white and a fallow deer also died in March.