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Nine rare alala chicks hatched at Keauhou Bird Conservation Center


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Animal care staff at the San Diego Zoo Global Keauhou Bird Center have spent the past several weeks as the faux mother to rare alala, or Hawaiian crow, chicks.
Using puppets and wearing cloaks, animal care staff at the San Diego Zoo Global’s Keauhou Bird Center have spent the past several weeks as the faux mother to rare alala, or Hawaiian crow, chicks.

 

These special conditions begin from the moment the hatchlings open their eyes at the Volcano center.

 

“Alala are very intelligent birds and are susceptible to imprinting,” said Bryce Masuda, San Diego Zoo Global program manager. “We use puppets to hand-rear and feed the birds when they are young to keep them from imprinting onto us, so they will behave naturally as adults.”

 

Nine chicks hatched this breeding season, which began in April and concluded this month, Masuda said.

 

The center’s nine-member staff is literally lending a hand in trying to save these chicks and the endangered species from sliding to extinction. Alala are extinct in the wild, and the last were recorded in 2002 in their forest natural habitat, where they were threatened by habitat destruction, introduced predators and avian disease.

 

See more at: http://westhawaiitoday.com/news/local-news/nine-rare-alala-chicks-hatched-keauhou-bird-conservation-center#sthash.2BXfHJNq.dpuf

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