Rare birds flourish at Dubbo

Rare birds flourish at Dubbo

#Conservation, #Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo

Posted on 18th May 2021 by Media Relations

Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Plains-wanderer conservation breeding program has continued to go from strength to strength over the past 18 months.

In early February 2021, the Zoo welcomed another four Plains-wanderer chicks to the breeding program bringing the total number of chicks hatched since the start of 2020 to 14.

These latest chicks hatched from two founding birds that had not bred yet. These birds were two of a number of birds caught in the wild and placed into zoos like Taronga Western Plains Zoo to breed an insurance population for this critically endangered species.

“This is the first time this wild founding pair has bred which was very exciting for us, said Plains-wanderer Keeper, Mark O’Riordan.

“Being founding birds their offspring are extremely important genetically for the conservation breeding program,” said Mark.

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.

“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,” said Mark.

“We have had a lot of success over the past 18 months and we are looking forward to seeing what the next breeding season holds for us here in Dubbo,” said Mark

“In the future we will be looking to pass on some of the genetically important birds to other organisations involved in the conservation breeding program. This will help enhance the overall genetic diversity of the zoo-based populations for this unique and globally important species,” said Mark.

The Zoo now holds 29 Plains-wanderer in total in the purpose-built breeding complex located in the sanctuary behind-the-scenes. 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.