KARACHI, June 8: One of the two ostrich chicks born 10 days back at the zoo reportedly died of a lung infection, it emerged on Friday.
The sudden death has disappointed the zoo officials who claim that the only ostrich chick left at the facility has suffered a setback and now his survival is also at risk.
“We are saddened. The chick was perfectly normal though it was weak at the time of birth. It just collapsed on Thursday morning,” said senior vet Dr Kazim Hussain, who is serving as zoo’s additional director.
He added that the chick was found to be suffering from pleuritis (inflammation of the lungs) in a post-mortem examination.
According to him, all possible care is provided to the animals at the zoo and it was nothing but a ‘misfortune’ that the chick developed a respiratory infection or it might have had one since birth.
Regarding the survival of the other chick, he said it had suffered a setback, too. “Its survival is at risk.”
He added: “Though its parents are still there, the chick is missing its friend. Both the chicks used to spend their time together and found comfort in each other’s company. Now, it appears inactive,” he explained.
Currently, there are three ostriches — two females and one male — at the zoo. Only two eggs were hatched out of the 10 laid by a hen more than a month ago. It was the first time that ostrich eggs were hatched without the help of an incubator.
Previously, some ostrich chicks had died before reaching the age of three months.
The zoo lost an adult male ostrich last year when it reportedly swallowed a plastic bag.
The survival rate is said to be low for the ostrich hatchlings, with an average of one per nest surviving to adulthood. The animal is farmed around the world, particularly for its feathers, which are decorative and are also used as feather dusters.
Its skin is used for leather products and its meat having low cholesterol content is marketed commercially.