BHUBANESWAR: The sighting of a baby pangolin in the breeding centre of Nandankanan Zoological Park here has brought cheer to conservationists as this is for the first time that these toothless mammals have successfully bred in captivity in India. On Friday, the CCTV footage of the breeding centre brought up pictures of a baby pangolin and the elated Zoo authorities are now busy ascertaining which female gave birth to the little one. The pangolins in the zoo are micro-chipped for facilitating identification. Much before the Central Zoo Authority (CZA)-sponsored pangolin breeding got going, the zoo authorities had started the programme in the nocturnal centre of the animal park. There are 10 pangolins in Nandankanan Zoo, including six females.
While other zoos have unsuccessfully tried captive breeding of pangolins, a shy nocturnal animal which survives on red ants and termites, Nandankanan was sanctioned the breeding centre project by CZA as it managed an undisturbed supply of food.
The breeding centre has ultra violet CCTVs which keep a tab on the mammals. There are six pangolins in the breeding centre while the rest are housed in the nocturnal centre.
As per the zoo records, a pair had mated during July 2008 but given the fact that pangolins have a gestation period of 120 to 150 days, this baby is unlikely to belong to the pair. Later, the researchers engaged with the breeding centre project believe the baby could belong to a separate pair which mated during October- November last year.
Under the CZA-sponsored programme, the entire breeding project is being documented by the zoo and could lead to significant details about the behaviour of this animal which lives in burrows.