For the fourth time, the zoo’s female ostrich laid six eggs. Two of them hatched naturally on Monday, finds P. Oppili

Long-necked and long-legged ostriches, large flightless birds that are native Africa, are breeding comfortably at Vandalur zoo.

For the fourth time at the zoo, a female ostrich successfully laid eggs, which hatched on Monday.

K.S.S.V.P. Reddy, chief conservator of forests and zoo director, said the zoo bought a pair of ostriches from the animal husbandry department’s farm in Kattuppakkam in 2009.

Two years later, the female laid seven eggs, of which six hatched.

In 2012, the female ostrich once again laid six eggs, of which two hatched. In 2013, it laid two eggs of which only one hatched.

This month, six eggs were laid of which two hatched on Monday.

A total of 13 ostrich chicks have been born in the zoo, of which a pair has been donated to the Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh, Gujarat.

Mr. Reddy said Vandalur zoo was the only zoo in the country where an ostrich has incubated and hatched its eggs naturally. Available records reveal that in other zoos where these flightless birds are kept, there is no record of them hatching and incubating naturally so far.

A senior wildlife official said the decline in the number of fertile eggs laid by the mother bird in Vandalur indicated that it had attained its peak reproductive stage and this was why it had been unable to lay very many fertile eggs over the last three years.

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