A lesser adjutant stork has been adopted by new parents at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo. The egg was abandoned by an inexperienced pair of storks but luckily a keeper from the Ornithology department found it.
It was moved to an incubator and determined to be fertile. Then just before it hatched it was placed in a nest of a pair who were sitting on their own egg. Now they are raising both chicks as if they were their own.
The fostered chick hatched first on June 27 followed closely by the pair’s own hatchling on August 5th.
“The successful hatching and rearing is a testament to well-developed husbandry techniques developed as part of the Bronx Zoo’s long-standing stork breeding program, said Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President and Bronx Zoo Director. “Working so closely with these birds at the Bronx Zoo gives us the opportunity to study and understand their behaviour and reproductive biology. The information, knowledge and experience we gather here in NY is invaluable to the conservation of the species in the wild.”
Lesser adjutant storks are rare both in zoos and in the wild. Only three North American zoos house this species.
In the wild the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists them as vulnerable. Their habitat of coastal swamps, mangroves, mud flats, marshes, flooded grassland, lakes and paddy fields are being destroyed. WCS supports a conservation program for the species in Cambodia.
By tracking development of the chicks at the zoo WCS can send this data to researchers in the field to help them determine the ages of wild birds.
Their name comes from the military-looking posture and strut. They can be distinguished from the grater adjutant stork as they lack the neck sac present in that species.
Photo Credit: Bronx Zoo/ Julie Larsen Maher