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Rare Okinawa chicks to be hatched next week.

NAHA, Japan, Aug. 25 Kyodo

At least three chicks of an Okinawa rail, an endangered bird indigenous to Okinawa, are expected to hatch next week at a zoological and botanical park in Okinawa, park officials said Wednesday.

Workers at Neo Park Okinawa in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, have confirmed that at least three of four eggs of the bird have been fertilized and that they may hatch as early as Sept. 2.

The four eggs were part of a nest of six laid earlier this month by an Okinawa rail found in 1995 on an Okinawa beach. The bird has since been kept at the park. The other two eggs were broken when found by staff.

The eggs are the first to be laid by an Okinawa rail in captivity, according to the park officials.

The bird, which is about 30 centimeters in length and cannot fly, was discovered in 1981 in northern Okinawa and found to be indigenous to the region. It usually inhabits hilly regions.

The Environment Agency estimates about 1,800 of the rails, known in Japanese as "yambaru kuina," remain in Okinawa Prefecture.
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Comment:Rare Okinawa chicks to be hatched next week.
Publication:Japan Science Scan
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Aug 30, 1999
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