09 13/09/2013

Focus on the Blue-crowned laughingthrush

  • Birds
  • At The Zoo
  • Conservation in the zoo

The first ever meeting to manage the conservation breeding of a bird species at a global level took place last week at Chester Zoo.

Focus on the Blue-crowned laughingthrush

Wild Blue-crowned laughingthrush at nest, Wuyuan County Photo © He Shu-hui

The Global Species Management Plan (GSMP) meeting brought together partners from around the world who are concerned for the future of the blue-crowned laughingthrush, a critically endangered bird endemic to China. 

Approved in October 2012, the goal of the GSMP is to manage this critically endangered species at a global level by combining regional captive populations with collective knowledge and resources.  The meeting was run by the Population Biologist and Advisor from Riverbanks Zoo, USA, together with the GSMP Program Manager from Woodland Park Zoo and International Studbook keeper from ZSL. Participants included colleagues from Lyon Zoo in France, Durrell, Newquay Zoo, Waddesdon Manor and Chester Zoo.

BCLT meeting at Chester Zoo

There are only seven GSMPs worldwide, the rest all being for mammal species.  Global management is important for zoo breeding programme sustainability and zoo cooperation. The GSMP will allow the worldwide captive population of blue-crowned laughingthrushes to be managed as a single unit.   This is really important for the future of the blue-crowned laughingthrush, whose known numbers in the wild are only 250 individuals. 

Coordinated by Chester Zoo, a consortium of European partners also support the field research and protection of this species in China, and our staff have been heavily involved in this project with significant technical support and research dedicated to the monitoring and protection of the species.

Having been supporting the conservation of this laughing thrush both in the zoo and in the field for many years we were delighted to host this important meeting which is a landmark for global zoo cooperation in bird conservation.

I am Roger Wilkinson, Head of Field Conservation at Chester Zoo and I Act for Wildlife.