Dec 30, 2015 03:03 PM EST
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons )
With less than 100 Javan green magpies remaining in the wild and captivity, the U.K.'s Chester Zoo is taking in six pairs of these rare birds in a desperate final attempt to save them from extinction.
"We really are fighting against time to save the incredibly rare Javan green magpie from extinction. Sadly, there is evidence that the species is fast disappearing in the wild as they have fallen victim to the pet trade and an ever-shrinking habitat," Andrew Owen, the zoo's curator of birds, said in a statement. "In fact, they have only been found once in the last 10 years in the wild by ornithologists."
The Javan green magpie is native to Indonesia and prized for its beautiful plumage and bird song. Their bright green plumage is procured through the food they eat: insects, frogs and lizards. When captured, these birds – among others commonly caged as pets in Indonesia – don't survive very long, BBC reports. For more than five years, conservationists have been breeding these birds in captivity to create what they call "safety net" populations. When the birds were first brought to the zoo, they spent six weeks in quarantine before being released into a larger area that resembles their natural habitat and is scattered with locus.