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Calgary Zoo hatches 50 endangered greater sage grouse birds

Calgary Zoo hatches 50 endangered greater sage grouse birds

Some of the greater sage grouse hatched at The Calgary Zoo. Credit: The Calgary Zoo

Credit: The Calgary Zoo

The Calgary Zoo says it has successfully hatched several dozen greater sage grouse in an effort to bolster the endangered prairie bird’s population.

The zoo says eight hens, six males and 50 juveniles are thriving at its Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre.

The goal is to eventually reintroduce some of the birds into the wild, where fewer than 400 remain.

READ MORE: Sage grouse making tiny comeback on prairies

Greater sage grouse are threatened by habitat destruction and human development.

The zoo says there are only five mating grounds —known as leks — left in Canada: two in Saskatchewan and three in Alberta.

The Calgary Zoo opened its breeding facility last fall.

READ MORE: Calgary Zoo opens first breeding facility in Canada for greater sage grouse

“Saving greater sage grouse is important, but it is not easy,” Axel Moehrenschlager, the zoo’s conservation director, said in a release Thursday. “I am proud of the progress that has been made in founding a vibrant reintroduction breeding program that can assist wild populations for years to come.”

“With experts, federal and provincial government partners, and landowners we will now reassess conditions in the wild to develop release strategies that can be progressively improved over time.”

READ MORE: Calgary Zoo works to save one of Canada’s most endangered birds

The custom-made breeding facility provides the birds with a natural environment, which is important for their successful reproduction and welfare. Sage brush, grown in the wild in British Columbia, will be used as a winter food source for the flock.

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