Conservationists Hand-Rear Blue-Eyed Ground Dove Chick in Bid to Save Species From Extinction

A bird species thought to have gone extinct is being slowly brought back by conservationists in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Footage released by England’s Chester Zoo shows conservationists hand-rearing a blue-eyed ground dove chick, the latest addition to a species thought to have been extinct for more than 70 years.

The birds, which live in the Cerrado biosystem found in Minas Gerais, were rediscovered in 2015.

Only 15 are thought to be alive in the wild.

In an effort to aid the return of the species, conservationists were able to hand-rear two chicks in 2023.

Another attempt was made this year, resulting in one more healthy chick to add to the population.

The three hand-reared chicks will form the nucleus of an insurance population to guard against total extinction.

Chester Zoo, as well as zoos in Brazil, Toledo, and the Bronx are participating in conservation efforts.

Andrew Owen, Head of Birds at Chester Zoo, said: “The fact is, we’ve got to do something, otherwise it’ll be a case of sitting by and watching these beautiful birds go extinct. We refuse to let that happen without a fight.”

“For our part, we first got involved six years ago when invited to lend our technical expertise to help develop a recovery plan for these critically endangered birds.

“Now, it’s about putting that plan into action and incubating, hatching and hand-rearing chicks to try to establish an insurance population in human care. The ultimate goal is for that insurance population to produce birds that will be returned to the wild.” Credit: Chester Zoo via Storyful