Just as the photographer was about to click, an ostrich ran forward, craned its neck and pecked at the camera lens.
Soon, S.T. Selvan, a professor at the Tamil Nadu University for Veterinary and Animal Sciences (TANUVAS), came to the rescue. The ostrich was part of a live exhibit at the Chennai Science Festival that began at Anna Science Gem Park on Wednesday. Ostriches apart, Japanese quails, frizzles, guinea fowls and turkeys too, were part of the festival.
“Since I have never seen an ostrich or a guinea fowl, it was fascinating to watch them today. We had someone explain to us the characteristics of an ostrich. For instance, I came to know that it weighs 110 kg runs at 50-60 km/hr and that oil extracted from it can be used for orthopaedic problems,” said T. Akhil, a class VIII student.
The animals were brought in from the farm maintained by TANUVAS. Prof. Selvan said, “It is amazing to have students visit and ask interesting questions. They will get great exposure here.”
Apart from the live exhibits, there were several stalls — displaying information on a range of topics from food security and adulteration to aero-modelling — put up by various colleges and a few organisations. Eagle Aerosports, which conducts workshops on aero-modelling at schools and colleges, orphanages and juvenile homes, had displayed miniature aircrafts at the festival.
Ila Vivekananda of Eagle Workshop said that it was fun teaching students the nuances of flying. “Students should learn science because it is exciting, not because someone asked them to. We have to instil that kind of an attitude in children,” he said.
While Sankara Nethralaya attempted to spread awareness about eye donation, Ragas Dental College and Hospital conducted free dental screenings for several students.