BY TAMARA GIGNAC, CALGARY HERALD MAY 31, 2013
The Calgary Zoo is welcoming one of its tiniest — and rare — citizens.
A whooping crane has hatched from a total of six fertile eggs at the zoo’s off-site wildlife conservation centre. The remaining five will be sent to other North American facilities to help boost the endangered bird’s population in the wild.
The chick is healthy and feeding well with the help of its parents, said curator Colleen Baird.
It’s possible the valuable bird will remain in Calgary and in several years be matched up with a mate as part of the zoo’s ongoing breeding program to reintroduce the fowl into their natural habitat.
“It will hopefully produce more eggs to eventually release as well. But we don’t know. We need to check out the genetics and then determine what program that bird will enter into,” said Baird.
There are approximately 500 whooping cranes in the wild, up from a low of 16 birds in 1942. The population plummeted due to unregulated hunting, water contamination and industrialization.