With parents named James Bond and Miss Moneypenny this bird has big future ahead of it. Currently though keeper Karen Neech says it ‘looks more like a dinosaur crossed with a plucked chicken!’
The chick is kept inside a Tupperware tub and receives round the clock care. It is quite a hard job as Neech explained ‘At the moment I’m feeding it a special mixture of powdered vitamins every two hours between 6am until 11pm. This will go on for around three months until the bird is weaned and can feed by itself.’
It will be a long time before keepers can sex the macaw chick so they gave it the unisex name of Jessie.
One day it will grow to be the largest parrot in the world. This hasn’t stopped them from being affected by the illegal pet trade and land clearing for cattle ranchers. This has led to a rapid decline across their home range of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.
Neech said, ‘The hatching of this chick is a major step forward in our efforts to ensure a healthy insurance population of these stunning birds exists in zoos.’
The program also has applications for wild breeding programs as Neech explained, ‘the skills that the bird keeping team develop whilst hand-rearing the chick at the zoo can be applied to our conservation programmes in the wild – something we’ve been able to do successfully with species such as the endangered echo parakeet in Mauritius.’
This is important as they have a slow reproductive rate meaning it is slow going to replace animals which are lost.
Photo Credit-Chester Zoo