Two little white naped pheasant pigeons have hatched at Chester Zoo adding to numbers of this vulnerable species.
These pigeons only inhabit two islands in the wild known as the Aru Islands which are in Indonesia.
Baby Kola is currently 21 days old and is being raised by keepers after she was rejected by her parents.
Another chick known as Wokam is also being hand reared. He was named after the largest of the Aru islands.
The keepers have had to devise a special food to feed them on.
At this point scouring pads are playing a large part in the hand raising process. Gareth Evans, one of the bird keepers explained further ‘It gives them something to grip onto to make sure they don’t slip and slide around, helping their feet and legs to develop properly.’
In the wild these chicks would spend most of their time in a nest created form sticks and twigs.
‘Adult pheasant pigeons produce a unique crop milk which they regurgitate to feed to their young’ stated Evans.
Currently they are feed on a mix of egg, water and vitamin pellets. The first feed of the day is at 6am with the last taking place at 10pm.
Andrew Owens, The curator of birds explained how ‘Our two latest hatchlings are very important young birds indeed.’
Owen says that ‘very few institutions in the world actually keep the species’ this means that ‘each and every new hatching is vital to the safety-net population which is held in zoos.’
Chester Zoo is ‘of the most successful zoos in Europe when it comes to breeding this species’ said Owens.
Staff hope that the white naped pheasant pigeon babies will grow up to be like their parents who can be seen at the zoo’s Islands in danger exhibit.
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo