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SAN DIEGO ZOO GETS FIRST FLAMINGO CHICK IN 14 YEARS.

Byline: Associated Press

Who says money can't buy love?

A $47,000 renovation of a flamingo lagoon paid off Thursday as the first chick in 14 years was hatched at the San Diego Zoo's romantic hideaway for the pink birds.

The bird broke out of its shell about 3:30 p.m. and is expected to be swimming in the lagoon within five days. Ten more eggs are expected to hatch over the next few weeks, said zoo spokeswoman Georgeanne Irvine.

The fuzzy, gray-down hatchling was being cared for by its parents, who also took turns sitting on the egg for 27 days. The normal gestation period for flamingos is 28 days.

``The parents are taking turns keeping the chick warm,'' Irvine said. ``Then they also feed it with regurgitated food.''

Zoo officials renovated the lagoon, just inside the main entrance, to improve their flamingos' fertility. The job was completed Feb. 26.

``We have been trying for years, and finally the bird people got the funding and the ideas together,'' Irvine said. ``We absolutely attribute this to the changes we made.''

New features included a nesting island, a white sandy beach, more palm trees, banana groves, 400 ferns and a waterfall. Keepers also added some colorful flowers to complement the flamingos' pink plumage.

Previous fertility failures have been blamed on the busy zoo entrance distracting the birds and wild foxes believed to have stolen the birds' eggs while roaming the park after dark.
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 16, 1996
Words:243
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