Skip to content

Chester Zoo Welcomes Rare Parrot Chicks In Bid To Save Endangered Species

Rare parrots on the brink of extinction find hope as two chicks hatch at Chester Zoo

A pair of the world’s rarest parrots have been hatched at Chester Zoo in what could be a “pivotal moment” in saving the birds from extinction, conservationists say.

Described as “two of the most precious chicks on the planet”, the Mitchell’s lorikeets arrived safely into the world at the attraction on September 9 and 11.

The new hatchlings are said to give new hope to the species which faces being wiped out as just SEVEN of the birds are thought to remain in the wild.

The colorful parrots are one of the world’s rarest birds after the illegal wildlife trade pushed them to the brink of extinction.

Experts say that the two chicks will now join a special breeding program for the ‘extremely rare’ species, which was set up at conservation zoos across Europe.

The precious parrots, known as Mitchell’s lorikeets are one of the world’s rarest birds and face extinction in the wild. PHOTO BY CHESTER ZOO/SWNS 

Zoe Sweetman, parrot team manager at the zoo, said: “The hatching of two Mitchell’s lorikeet chicks is pivotal moment for the species, especially as its future on the planet hangs in the balance.

“Given how precious the chicks are, we’ve been monitoring them very closely and weighing the duo regularly to give them every chance of fledging the nest and reaching adulthood – they really are very special.

“The unrelenting pace of the illegal wildlife trade has pushed the species to the edge of existence, so in 2018 Chester joined an important conservation breeding program where every new addition is helping to protect the future of the species.

“We’re now home to 12 of these beautiful parrots, which is sadly more than what has been recorded in the wild in recent years.”

The precious parrots, known as Mitchell’s lorikeets are one of the world’s rarest birds and face extinction in the wild. PHOTO BY CHESTER ZOO/SWNS 

Zookeepers will next determine the sex of the new arrivals by testing DNA samples from their feathers.

The Mitchell’s lorikeet was once found on the Indonesian islands of Bali and Lombok, but latest searches have found only a handful of birds remaining.

In 2020, a group of conservationists set out on an expedition to find the last remaining populations and recorded only seven birds living in Bali.

The zoo blames extensive hunting and trapping for the illegal wildlife trade as driving the drastic decline in numbers.

More than a million birds are taken from the wild each year.

They say the market is being driven by a culture of keeping and giving birds as gifts, where the rarer or more colorful birds are the most highly prized.

As a result, the species is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and BirdLife International.

Andrew Owen, head of birds at the zoo, added: “Many of Indonesia’s bird have now largely disappeared from their forest homes.

“This is why we’ve been working with our partners in Java, the Cikananga Conservation Breeding Centre, for more than a decade to rescue birds and provide the skills to breed them in their own country.

“Part of this work also includes working with local communities to try and change the culture from trapping birds, to helping protect them, which is a huge task in itself.

“In the case of the Mitchell’s lorikeet, it will be the role of conservation zoos like ours to provide a safe haven for the birds and, through specialized breeding programs, secure their future and help bring them back from the brink.”

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”

Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.

Check out our free email newsletters

Recommended from our partners