Sarus crane hatches at Denver Zoo

DENVER – The Denver Zoo is celebrating its first-ever hatching of a Sarus crane, the tallest of all flying birds.

The chick, whose sex is still unknown, hatched on the morning of August 17 and hasn’t been named yet.

Along with first-time parents Violetta and Alfredo, the chick can be seen now at the Crane Lagoon at the zoo’s Elephant Passage.

The chick’s hatching brings the Zoo’s total number of Sarus cranes to three.

Zookeepers found the chick’s egg on July 15 and checked on it several times a day before moving it to the zoo’s Avian Propagation Center for artificial incubation. In its place, the parents were given a “dummy” wooden egg to brood. This was done to ensure the chick’s best chance of survival, according to zoo officials.

The chick was returned to its parents upon hatching, and they have been providing excellent care ever since, according to zookeepers. Keepers said the chick has become very mobile and can be seen walking long distances around its enclosure.

Sarus cranes, which are native to southeast Asia and Australia, grow to nearly six feet tall. Their bodies are almost entirely gray and white, except for their red necks and heads.

The species is classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, according to zoo officials. Their major threats include loss and degradation of wetlands, as well as the hunting of adult Sarus cranes and collection of eggs and chicks for trade and food.

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