SINGAPORE: More than 100 chicks have hatched at Jurong Bird Park since the start of 2020, with a fifth of them from threatened species.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) said on Friday (Jul 24) that Jurong Bird Park had three endangered white cockatoos hatch - a species under severe threat from poaching, and listed as endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Endangered Species.
Jurong Bird Park is "one of a handful of zoological institutions breeding the species, contributing to the international zoo community’s efforts to sustain healthy and genetically diverse populations", said WRS.
Other chicks include a pair of critically endangered red-fronted macaws, as well as three blue-eyed cockatoos, a vulnerable species "threatened in the wild and very rare in zoological parks". Jurong Bird Park is one of two zoological institutions breeding the blue-eyed cockatoo.
A burrowing owl and Western long-tailed hornbill were also the first in-park hatchlings for their species at Jurong Bird Park.
Various chicks, which are either species of conservation value or ones with inexperienced parents, are hand-raised at Jurong Bird Park's Breeding and Research Centre to maximise their chances of survival.
“Hand-raising chicks can be challenging. They are delicate when young and have a demanding feeding schedule where they have to be fed up to seven times a day. But it is very rewarding to see the chicks grow and eventually fledge.
"It gives us even more fulfilment knowing that we have directly contributed to the continued survival of these threatened species”, said Mark Rusli, junior animal care officer, and hand rearer at the Breeding and Research Centre.
Their caretakers play the role of foster parents, feeding the chicks at regular intervals and weighing them to track their progress.
The birds will be transferred to their respective aviaries when they are old enough.
Jurong Bird Park reopened on Jul 6 after a three-month closure as part of Singapore's "circuit breaker" measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. It houses about 3,500 birds across 400 species, 20 per cent of which are threatened.
Jurong Bird Park's Breeding and Research Centre focuses on the propagation of threatened species and research on breeding biology.
The park is also an active participant in several coordinated conservation breeding programmes, and directly manages some of these programmes.