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Two Critically Endangered Blue-Billed Curassows Hatch at Smithsonian’s Nationwide Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute


For the primary time, Hen Home keepers at Smithsonian’s Nationwide Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C., are celebrating the hatching of two critically endangered blue-billed curassows. The 2 feminine chicks are being cared for off-exhibit. The primary chick, named Aluna, hatched Aug. 5. Her sister Lulo hatched Aug. 28. Aluna is the primary offspring for 6-year-old mom, Jackie; the 16-year-old father, JB, beforehand sired chicks at one other establishment. Keepers report that the sisters are thriving and describe them as assured and curious.

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Jackie and JB arrived on the Zoo in 2016 and 2019, respectively, following a breeding suggestion from the Affiliation of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP supervisor chooses which animals to breed by contemplating their genetic compatibility, persona, well being and temperament, amongst different elements.

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Jackie laid Aluna’s egg July 6 and Lulo’s egg July 27. Sometimes, feminine curassows incubate their eggs for 29 to 31 days. Nevertheless, Jackie didn’t present curiosity in incubating her eggs. Due to this, it was evident to the group that she wouldn’t settle for or bond together with her chicks.

Animal care workers positioned the eggs in an incubator. They obtained a blood pattern from the eggs, and a DNA take a look at carried out by the Zoo’s Middle for Conservation Genomics confirmed that the chicks have been feminine. At the moment, the North American blue-billed curassow inhabitants has a complete of 73 birds, together with Aluna and Lulo. There are extra males than females, so feminine chicks are thought of an important hatch for the inhabitants right now.

Keepers elected to hand-raise Aluna and Lulo to offer them the perfect probability of survival. They imprinted—or socially bonded—with the animal care group. For enrichment, they obtain some grownup feathers to cuddle underneath and a mirror that gives “socialization” when keepers usually are not with them.

“Each second with these chicks has been a dream come true for me,” mentioned Heather Anderson, animal keeper. “I’ve had the objective to breed the blue-billed curassow since my first yr of zookeeping. It was superb to look at these precocial birds as their instinctual talents to eat, perch and preen their feathers kicked in—all within the first day of life! For different chicken species, these milestones might take weeks to attain.”

Native to Colombia, blue-billed curassows are thought of critically endangered by the Worldwide Union of Conservation of Nature. Scientists estimate between 1,000 and a couple of,500 stay within the wild. Traditionally, these birds lived all through northern Colombia. As we speak, the complete wild inhabitants happens in just some small areas of tropical lowland forest. The principle threats going through wild blue-billed curassows are habitat loss and fragmentation.

The Zoo’s historic 1928 Hen Home is at present closed because it transforms right into a first-of-its-kind attraction that immerses guests within the annual journeys of Western Hemisphere birds. It’s scheduled to reopen in winter 2023. With nearly 100 species of birds, the Hen Home and the encompassing chicken plateau would be the first zoo exhibition of this measurement that focuses on the cyclical journeys of migratory songbirds, waterfowl and shorebirds integral to North, Central and South American ecosystems. Via themed walk-through aviaries, interactive experiences and dynamic academic programming, the Hen Home will encourage and join guests to birds in thrilling new methods. 

Through the renovation, Zoo guests can see birds on the Cheetah Conservation Station, Small Mammal Home, American Path, Amazonia and Children’ Farm displays.

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