Rare birds: 'Extinct' Socorro doves born at Chester Zoo
Baby chicks of one of the most endangered birds in the world have hatched in the UK and are being looked after by experts. They've been extinct in the wild for 47 years.
Say hello to a Socorro dove chick. Not many people have seen one of these up close. It's one of the most endangered birds in the world and was declared extinct in the wild 47 years ago.
This is what an adult bird looks like. The Socorro dove, which originates from Socorro Island located 400 miles off the west coast of Mexico, vanished from the wild completely in 1972.
There are fewer than 200 Socorro doves existing, entirely in zoos, around the world, with just 23 in the UK – including Chester Zoo’s latest arrivals.
The chicks, which hatched on 7 November, were raised by 'foster parents' – a pair of Barbary doves – as adult Socorro doves have a poor track record of incubating eggs and raising their own chicks.
The species is part of a European Endangered Species Programme, which helps to protect birds in Europe. It is working with zoos and research centres to try to develop a strong group of Socorro doves with the ultimate aim of returning the birds to the wild in their native habitat.