Chester Zoo Hatches Two Chicks Officially Declared Extinct 47 Years Ago

A zoo has successfully hatched two chicks from a species of bird officially declared extinct almost 50 years ago.

The team at Chester Zoo hatched two Socorro doves, which originate from Socorro Island, 400 miles off the west coast of Mexico, back on the 7 November and they are now being looked after by 'foster parents' - a pair of Barbury doves.

The Socorro doves were declared officially extinct in the wild in 1972 and now there are fewer than 200 left in the world, with all of them in protected, human care.

The doves are under the care of the Barbary doves as adult Socorro doves don't have a good track record of incubating and raising their babies.

The birds were hatched on 7 November and 'fledged' 20 days later - now the zoo has shared the first pictures of them and they're pretty bloody cute, aren't they?

The chicks will now join a recovery programme - the European Endangered Species Programme - which aims to one day get the species back into the wild.

It's believed that the birds became extinct in the wild after sheep were introduced to Socorro Island, which eat the plants the birds use for food and shelter, alongside the introduction of cats, which ate the animals.

Andrew Owen, the zoo's curator of birds, said: "Zoos in Europe, the USA and Mexico have, for some time, been breeding Socorro doves as part of a globally managed programme which is working to return them to their ancestral home.

"These chicks are significant additions to the recovery programme for the Socorro dove."It's rather humbling to think that they could play an important role in one day seeing the species fly around the island of Socorro once again."

It's a bit of good news for the zoo, which just last month was hit by a devastating fire that tore through the £40m indoor forest habitat that is home to a number of primates, including orangutans, gibbons and macaques as well as wild birds and reptiles.

Staff were able to save all the mammals, as well as the Sunda gharial crocodiles, painted Batagur turtles and giant Asian pond turtles and they have since found new homes.

Sadly, smaller animals including snakes, cinnamon frogs and fish perished in the blaze.

The zoo was said to be 'totally overwhelmed' by the public response, which saw over £140,000 ($178,000) raised in donations.

Managers at the zoo have said the money will go towards important conservation work as the fire, reportedly started due to an electrical fault, will be covered by insurance.

Featured Image Credit: Chester Zoo

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

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