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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Welcome to the brood, young argus

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Three weeks ago on November 7, our pair of great argus welcomed a healthy chick. The baby bird tipped the scales at 48 grams, just a little heavier than a golf ball, and has steadily gained weight since.

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

To increase the chick’s chance of survival, keepers are hand rearing it behind the scenes in the comforts of a warm, secure den. Soft, feathery items—like the feather duster pictured below—are added to the den to comfort the young pheasant and to familiarize it with the feeling of family.

A feather duster is used to provide comfort to the hand-raised chick. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

The argus chick is a symbol of hope for this vulnerable species native to Southeast Asia. As part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), Woodland Park Zoo’s successful argus breeding program helps ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population that’s genetically and demographically stable and diverse. Woodland Park Zoo coordinates the argus SSP on site, working to pair fewer than 60 individuals across 20 AZA zoos in North America, and educating zoo visitors about the challenges they face in the wild.

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Soon, this little brown bird will tower over its two red feet and one day it, too, will join the Species Survival Plan and may even welcome a few small, fluffy chicks of its own.

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

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