From the brink: Guam kingfisher, extinct in the wild, hatches in Va.

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, celebrated a victory in the fight against the extinction of yet another species. On April 22, the institute welcomed a Guam kingfisher chick into the world.

The Guam kingfisher’s vibrant blue and orange plumage can no longer be seen in the wild, as the species has gone extinct everywhere except in captivity. There are only around 140 Guam kingfishers left in the world, and the Smithsonian said that makes each chick that is born precious.

According to the institute, Guam kingfishers are very difficult to breed in captivity, as the birds are naturally very territorial which makes setting up a breeding pair challenging. This chick’s parents mated, but ended up abandoning the egg. Conservation workers then stepped in and placed the egg in an incubator until it hatched.

The chick will remain in the incubator for another 10 days until its feathers start to come in. The Smithsonian is taking steps to make sure the chick does not imprint onto humans so that it may one day find a mate and raise chicks of its own.

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Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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