Animals

Crane couple Freddy and Barbara welcome Louisville Zoo’s first east African crowned crane chick – 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

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Crowned crane couple Freddy and Barbara at Louisville Zoo in East Africa have welcomed the first such chick in the zoo’s 52-year history.

On October 12, the female chick hatched into 19-year-old Freddy and 4-year-old Barbara, according to zoo officials.

“We’ve shown this wonderful species since the zoo opened in 1969, and we’re thrilled to be able to celebrate this little chick,” Dan Maloney, Louisville Zoo executive director, said in a press release. “Our bird breeders have done a fantastic job with the hatchlings and their parents, and we look forward to watching the couple raise them.”

It can be difficult to breed cranes in captivity, Stephen Taylor, assistant director of conservation, education and collections, told WFPL.

Cranes are known to have complex kind of “dances”, Taylor said. “This helps to solidify the relationship between the male and the female.”

In order to reproduce, birds need to love each other, have the opportunity to dance and “speak the same language,” Taylor says.

“Even when they’re dancing, if they don’t communicate the right way, you probably won’t have much success,” he said.

Also called gray-crowned cranes, it is native to Uganda and several other East African countries.

“These are beautiful birds that are unfortunately beginning to see their numbers decline,” said Stephen Taylor.

Habitat destruction and poaching threaten the species. Part of the problem is the illegal collection of eggs and chicks for sale in the pet industry.

Zoo officials say Freddy, Barbara and the Chicks are doing well in a private setting away from their regular exhibit. Once the chick is older, Taylor said, the zoo will reintroduce the crane family to the show.

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