Mysore, Apr. 6 (KK&JP)- The best kept secret of Mysore Zoo is out. Hidden in confines of the City Zoo are six surrogate moms who hatch any egg that is placed before them.

The six mothers are very ordinary hens of the common variety and they hatch any number of eggs without any complaints, said sources at City Zoo to SOM.

The reason is that they are far better than human surrogate 'moms' as the hatchlings have a tendency to imprint themselves on the first living creature that they set their sights on after being hatched.

The landmark studies of Swedish Zoologist, Konrad Lorenz, have proved that baby birds will fall the person they see first. In the case of Lorenz's experiments, it was the goslings of Greylag geese.

The Mysore Zoo is only following a tradition that is followed in several Zoos across the country and the world.

Interspecies surrogacy appeals to biologists for several reasons. Mothers from the endangered species may be too rare or not available for research. Surrogate mothers from species such as cats, sheep, antelope, and cows are often easier to come by in sufficient numbers.

In the recent past more than 150 peafowl eggs were hatched by brooding hens at the Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad. The eggs had been collected from peacock habitations in various parts of city like Banjara and Jubilee Hills, Golconda area etc.

The Hyderabad Zoo is using 80 brooding hens to hatch and act as mothers for the baby birds.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore