Monday, May 05, 2014

Scouring pads help rear rare pigeon chicks

Two rare chicks are being hand-reared by keepers at Chester Zoo with the help of scouring pads.

The white-naped pheasant pigeons named Kola and Wokam were rejected by their parents so the zoo has been using the bristly pads to help them thrive. Keeper Gareth Evans said the pads stop them slipping away and help their feet and legs develop, as they mimic a nest.

The exotic birds, which are less than a month old, were named after two of the Aru Islands in Indonesia, where the species is found. Mr Evans said: "Hand-feeding them is a tricky business but we use a scouring pad to make things a little easier. It gives them something to grip on to make sure they don't slip and slide around, helping their feet and legs to develop properly."

"Normally they'd be on a nest on the ground made up of lots of little sticks and twigs so a scouring pad acts to create the grip they'd get from the nest," he added. Chester Zoo said the birds are only found on the Aru Islands and have been reclassified as being vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

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