Four rare Plains-wanderer chicks hatch at Dubbo

Four rare Plains-wanderer chicks hatch at Dubbo

#Conservation, #Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo

Posted on 05th February 2021 by Media Relations

Taronga Western Plains Zoo continued its breeding success for the critically endangered Plains-wanderer with four chicks hatching from two separate clutches in early December 2020.

“2020 was a really successful year for our Plains-wanderer conservation breeding program with four successful clutches hatching a total of 10 chicks for the year,” said Plains-wanderer keeper Stephanie Sim.

“The chicks that hatched in December are the second generation to be born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, with the mothers of both clutches hatching here in Dubbo just last year in March 2020,” said Stephanie.

Plains-wanderers can breed all year round provided the conditions are favourable but generally favours spring and summer as their peak breeding seasons. They will generally hatch 2 – 4 chicks from up to 5 eggs in a clutch. The birds are fully independent from approximately two months of age.

“Plains-wanderer are a naturally timid species and initiate a freeze response at any sign of disturbance so we monitor the rearing of the chicks via CCTV,” said Stephanie.

“We have been really happy with the growth and development of all four chicks to date, both dads are doing a great job raising and caring for their chicks.”

Once these chicks are fully grown and independent they will be paired with other unrelated individuals and join the conservation breeding program here at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

“We are hopeful that the breeding success in 2020 will continue this year and grow the insurance population for this critically endangered species here in Dubbo”

There is estimated to be as few as 500 Plains-wanderers remaining in the wild, so every chick that hatches is vital to the long term survival of the species.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo in partnership with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) Saving Our Species program, Taronga Zoo, Zoos Victoria, Zoos South Australia and Featherdale Wildlife Park are working together to establish and maintain an insurance population against extinction in the wild, as well as to maintain a healthy genetic population that will boost wild populations in managed habitat.

The ongoing management of habitat across the species range is also a critical part of this program. Across the species range, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria, private landowners and managers are working with government and not-for-profit organisations to protect the species native grassland habitat. Collectively, the work being done by all project partners aims to remove this species from the critically endangered list.

The Plains-wanderer conservation breeding program is part of the National Recovery Plan, aiming to establish a sustainable population that can support the reintroduction of wild populations.

The Plains-wanderer breeding conservation program at Taronga Western Plains Zoo is located behind the scenes in a 110-hectare Sanctuary, dedicated to the conservation of native species. The Plains-wanderer facility includes 30 purpose-built aviaries.