09 09/09/2016

Bird keepers at Chester Zoo celebrate rare crane chick

Keepers at Chester Zoo have released touching photos of two proud West African black crowned crane parents keeping a close watch over their new chick.

Proud West African crowned crane parents keep a beady eye on their new chick at Chester Zoo

The chick, which is being carefully guarded by both its mum and dad, hatched on 16 August after a 30-day incubation period.

West African black crowned cranes are monogamous and remain and couple for life. Both the male and female build their nest together and take turns in incubating eggs and caring for their young. 
  

Lauren Hough, bird keeper, said: 

Our proud West African black crowned crane parents are doing a great job of looking after their new chick together. Mum is usually very endearing but has turned quite aggressive now she is guarding her chick, whilst dad is usually extremely shy but he has become much more confident since the youngster’s arrival.

“The chick is small, fluffy and yellow at the moment and until it develops adult feathers that can be sent for DNA testing we won’t know whether it’s male or female. But the most important thing for the time being is that it’s doing really, really well.

West African black crowned cranes are listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with just 15,000 estimated to remain in the wild. The birds’ range spans from Senegal to Chad but its habitat is under threat due to drainage, overgrazing and pesticide pollution. The capture and trade of the species is also having a dramatic effect on wild numbers.

Proud parents of new chick Chester Zoo