Monday, June 23, 2008

What are we doing here?

I'll start off by letting you in on a secret: this bird is not a common sight on the streets of Chennai. You knew that already? Okay then, tell me, where can we find ostriches in Chennai? If you said "Vandalur zoo", I'll have to excercise quizmaster's discretion and say "Wrong answer" - because that's not the answer I was looking for!

The Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) carries out research on various kinds of animals at its Livestock Research Station at Kattupakkam. About ten years ago, they decided to extend their research to ostriches and figure out how they can be an addition to the diet of the locals. Of course, there are challenges to be overcome - climate, feed, breeding, not to mention acceptance of ostrich meat as an alternate to chicken - and it will take a while longer before ostrich breeding can become commercially viable. Until then, ostriches will remain an oddity in Chennai.

My last visit to the 'Ostrich Farm' was about four years ago. There are many more of the birds around now; hearteningly, the breeding programme has resulted in quite a few chicks. In the picture are a pair of sub-adult birds - the female seems to be too shy to show her face to the photographer!


Viswanathan said...


Stevenson Q said...

wow! I love the ostriches! They're so cute! uhm.. in a big way^^

Thanks for droppin by my blog. Yah, it's very sad.


Shantaram said...

>> Ottayan>> The only.

>> Steven>> Yes, they're really big.

LVISS said...

Have never seen ostriches in madras except in zoos. May be they buried themselves fully instead of their heads. Yup they are lovely birds.

sreesnake said...

That was short'n'sweet!!

Shantaram said...

>> Ravindran>> Hahahaha! Yes, they are nice, we should see more of them soon, hopefully.

>> Sreekumar>> 10 years' of research in less than 10 sentences! Thanks!