The twin kittens, Being (right) and Bong, at the state hangar in Ranchi on Thursday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
A pair of twin kittens, born nearly three weeks ago to a white rabbit couple tamed by aviation-cum-transport secretary Sajal Chakraborty, has replaced aircraft and aero-models as centre of attraction at state hangar in Ranchi.
The junior bunnies, a black doe and a white buck, are drawing officials and staff to Chakraborty’s cabin. While the black bunny is hogging the limelight for being born of white parents, its white sibling is grabbing eyeballs, too.
Chakraborty said the rabbits eased stress.“We have named the female Being and the male Bong. It becomes Being-Bong when you call them together. The names have a rhythmic quality,” he smiled.
He added it was the first time he had seen black and white rabbit twins. “I don’t know much about rabbits. This morning, I even checked with environmentalist Bulu Imam, who visited me. He too said he hadn’t come across something like this. However, he did not rule out possibility of such births,” said the secretary, who said the rabbits might hail from beach or snow species.
About Being-Bong’s parents, named Babu and Chotki, Chakraborty said that he could not tell their exact ages, but added that the male had come to him like a surprise gift.
“I keep visiting Birsa zoo to take stock of the monkeys who lived with me earlier. During one of those visits, zoo staff told me that someone had handed them a mail rabbit. But, zoo cannot keep them because they are domesticated animals. So, I thought of bringing it along,” he recalled.
He added that one of his friends gifted him the female to give company to the male.
Officials are delighted with the new guests. “They have become comfortable with me. Whenever I come here for official work, they slowly hop in my lap,” remarked a transport department official on Thursday.
Hangar staff is maintaining caution to ensure that the young bunnies are not harmed. “People coming to inquire about aviation courses are asking us to show the rabbits. To avoid harm to the kittens, we aren’t allowing them to go to the secretary’s cabin,” said a staff.
While birth of a black rabbit from white parents has left some dumbfounded, zoologists maintained it was not rare.
“It’s possible due to a phenomenon called re-assortment of gene. During birth, the black gene got the better of white. It is possible that one of the parents has a history of black gene,” said Birsa zoo vet Ajay Kumar.