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Two 'extinct' birds have hatched at Chester Zoo

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 07/01/2019 Jessica Sansome
Extinct birds hatch at Chester Zoo © Chester Zoo Extinct birds hatch at Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo have welcomed two new additions - and there are just 23 of them existing in the UK.

A couple of rare Socorro doves hatched on November 7 and were raised by 'foster parents, a pair of barbary doves.

The birds, which originate from Socorro Island located 400 miles off the west coast of Mexico, are listed as extinct in the wild with fewer than 200 existing in human care in zoos around the world.

The Socorro birds completely vanished from their native land 47 years ago and declared extinct in the wild in 1972.

It is thought that the introduction of sheep that ate the plants the doves depended on to survive as well as invasive species such as cats that preyed upon the bird, are behind their demise.

a close up of a chicken © Credits: Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo

Work is currently being carried out on the Island to try and create a safer area for the reintroduction of the doves in the future.

Andrew Owen, the zoo’s Curator of Birds, said: "Zoos in Europe, the USA and Mexico have, for some time, been breeding Socorro doves as part of a globally managed programme which is working to return them to their ancestral home.

"These chicks are significant additions to the recovery programme for the Socorro dove. It’s rather humbling to think that they could play an important role in one day seeing the species fly around the island of Socorro once again."

a close up of a bird © Credits: Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo

The addition of the birds at the Cheshire-based zoo are part of a European Endangered Species Programme aiming to one day re-establish them in the wild.

Chester Zoo faced a difficult to end to 2018 after a fire caused by an electrical fault devastated the attractions Monsoon Forest.

Several animals were killed in the fire including insects, frogs, fish and small birds.

All mammals, including critically endangered Sumatran orangutans, and rare silvery gibbons, were led to safety.

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