The Calgary Zoo is thrilled to announce the arrival of two Greater Rhea chicks. The yet unnamed chicks emerged August 3 and 5 and are the first of their kind to hatch at the Zoo.
“Within Greater Rhea flocks, the males take on the dominant parenting role, by building nests, incubating eggs and caring for the newly hatched chicks,” says Colleen Baird, General Curator, Calgary Zoo. “Our male, Jekyll has been doing an amazing job and we are so pleased to be able to contribute to this threatened bird species.”
The Greater Rhea is flightless and the largest bird in South America. Related to the Ostrich and Emu, they are classified as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN and are part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is designed to ensure genetic diversity and safeguard a species-at-risk population.
In the wild, Rhea populations are declining due to hunting, habitat loss and fragmentation. Conservation efforts are focusing on illegal trade and protecting the birds’ remaining natural habitat.