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Toronto Zoo Release Endangered Loggerhead Shrikes

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: August 20, 2020 12:10 pm

An eastern loggerhead shrike being cared for by a keeper

Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo

Toronto Zoo are helping the recovery of the endangered eastern loggerhead shrike. A group of 9 shrikes bred at the zoo this year are being returned to the wild in Carden, Ontario.

Eastern loggerhead strikes are one of the most threatened species in North America. In Canada their range is now limited to isolated grasslands in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba.

Wildlife Preservation Canada oversee the Eastern loggerhead shrike recovery program and Toronto Zoo bred them at one of their specialized conservation breeding centers. Nine of them were picked up for release on Wednesday August 12th.

“Your Toronto Zoo plays a critical role as one of only a few conservation breeding centres for eastern loggerhead shrikes, and many endangered species, in Canada,” says Dolf DeJong, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Zoo.

“With recent reports of the decline of a number of Canadian species, it is our goal to expand our facilities where this incredible conservation work takes place in order to protect, conserve and increase the populations of the eastern loggerhead shrike, and endangered Canadian species as a whole, for future generations,” he added.

A video on the shrikes

Video Credit: Toronto Zoo

This breeding season Toronto Zoo formed four pairs from the 18 birds that are part of their breeding program. The decision to only create four pairs was taken due to uncertainty around staffing and the ability to move birds across the US border due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

From these four pairs they successfully fledged 13 birds. The first pair produced six nestlings on June 28th, the second hatched five nestlings on July 1st 2020 and this was followed by six nestlings from the final pair on the same day.

Eastern loggerhead shrikes were listed as endangered in 1991 due to a declining population. By 1997 their population was a as low as 100 in Canada.

Since 1997 a captive population has been created from 43 young birds. The Toronto Zoo has been involved since the program began and have welcomed 376 chicks.

Learn more about Toronto Zoo on their website – Toronto Zoo

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