National Zoo celebrates hatching of two critically endangered blue-billed curassows

It’s always great news when a new baby animal is born, but it’s even more special when they’re part of an endangered species. Each new birth is a crucial step towards saving a species from extinction.

Recently, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo celebrated an amazing new arrival: the hatching of two critically endangered blue-billed curassows.

According to a press release from the institution, the first chick, Aluna, was born on August 5, and a second named Lulo hatched on August 28. Both chicks are female.

An incredible video shared by the Smithsonian shows the moment one of the chicks hatched:

Their parents are 6-year-old mom Jackie, who arrived at the zoo in 2016, and 16-year-old father JB, who arrived in 2019. The pair got together following a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.

Aluna and Lulo are reportedly being hand-raised to give them their best chance at survival, and have imprinted on the animal care team. Jackie did not show interest in incubating her eggs, and it was unlikely she would have bonded with her chicks.

The chicks are doing well, and have been described as “thriving” and “confident and curious.”

Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Their arrival is important because the blue-billed curassow is considered a critically endangered species, with a population of between just 1,000 and 2,500 individuals left in the wild.

Their main threats are habitat loss and fragmentation. Including the newborns, there are now 73 blue-billed curassows in North America.

Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

There are more males than females of the species, which makes the arrival of two female chicks even more reason to celebrate.

“Every moment with these chicks has been a dream come true for me,” said animal keeper Heather Anderson, according to the press release. “I have had the goal to breed the blue-billed curassow since my first year of zookeeping.”

“It was amazing to watch these precocial birds as their instinctual abilities to eat, perch and preen their feathers kicked in—all in the first day of life! For other bird species, those milestones could take weeks to achieve.”

What beautiful newborn baby birds, and what great news for this critically endangered species. We hope these two blue-billed curassows continue to thrive ❤️

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