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Wasit Wetland Centre nurtures birth of three endangered Goliath Heron chicks

posted on 31/03/2016: 2299 views

Wasit Wetland Centre (WWC), a nature reserve run by Sharjah's Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), has announced yesterday the recently successful hatching of three Goliath Heron (Latin name: Ardea goliath) chicks, at its Breeding Centre for Endangered Wildlife.

The Goliath Herons are part of a coordinated breeding programme with the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) – the female coming from Beekse Bergen Safari Park in the Netherlands, and the male arriving from Zoo Berlin in Germany.

Both breeding partners were born in 2014, but were moved to Wasit Wetlands Centre's new aviary when it opened in 2015, and between them have since laid five clutches of eggs, but with no previous success. Zoologists have speculated that this may have been due to the fact that they were initially too young to breed.

The three chicks successfully hatched on 7th, 9th and 11th of March; the first egg was laid on 7th February and was followed by two more on the 8th and 9th February respectively.

Eight EAZA member institutes house a total of only 26 birds of which 10 are housed at the Wasit Wetlands Centre and the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife; both are owned and run by the EPAA of Sharjah.

Goliath Herons are the largest Heron in the world and are sparsely distributed across the African continent, with a small breeding population on the coast of the Arabian Peninsula – in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. They are occasionally spotted in Oman, however, there has only ever been one recorded instance of a UAE-based breeding ground in the wild.

"To hatch three chicks and have them successfully reared by the parents is a very unusual success story," said HE Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of the Sharjah EPAA.

"We are especially proud of all of the efforts and staff at the Wasit Wetland Centre on this accomplishment. For me, this is another clear demonstration that the EPAA's policies toward enhancing Sharjah's environmental conservation and biodiversity – a mandate guided by the directives of the Sharjah leadership – are being realised. Examples such as these certainly show that we are seeing real and tangible results," Her Excellency added.

According to Wasit Wetland Centre experts, it is not possible to tell if the chicks are male or female when they have just recently hatched, so the EPAA will wait until the chicks are fully fledged before they take blood samples to determine their genders. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


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