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Chicks of bird listed 'extinct' hatch at zoo.

Byline: LAUREN WISE lauren.wise@reachplc.com

TWO chicks have hatched at Chester Zoo after their species was declared extinct in the wild 47 years ago.

The Socorro dove, which originates from Socorro Island, located 400 miles off the west coast of Mexico, disappeared from the wild in 1972.

Fewer than 200 of the doves are now left on the planet, with all of them in human care.

Hatched on November 7 last year, the chicks fledged 20 days later and were raised by a pair of Barbary doves, as adult Socorro doves have a poor track record of incubating eggs and raising their young.

Alongside their feathered foster parents, bird experts at Chester Zoo also helped ensure the safety of the chicks as they became adults, weighing them regularly to ensure they developed correctly.

It's believed the introduction of sheep, which ate the plants the doves depended on for food and shelter, alongside cats that preyed upon the birds, are the main factors behind the birds' demise. Chester Zoo's chicks will now join a recovery programme, the European Endangered Species Programme, which aims to one day re-establish them in the wild.

Work is currently being carried out on Socorro Island in an attempt to create safe areas for the doves so they can one day be reintroduced ? Rare Socorro doves, one of the most endangered species on the planet, have hatched at Chester Zoo to their ancestral home. 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 Soccoro once again."

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Publication:Chester Chronicle (Chester, England)
Date:Jan 10, 2019
Words:318
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