CHANGYEONG, April 29 (Korea Bizwire) — Crested ibises, an endangered bird, have been born in the wild in South Korea for the first time after the species went extinct on the Korean Peninsula 42 years ago, officials here said Thursday.
Two crested ibis chicks were born safely from two eggs laid by a pair of crested ibises, which were released two years ago in Upo Wetland in Changnyeong of South Gyeongsang Province, 350 kilometers southeast of Seoul, the county officials said.
The two chicks were born from one egg hatched at 10:12 a.m. on Monday and another hatched at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, the officials said, noting they are now growing safely in the arms of their parents.
The officials expect the young crested ibises will leave their nest around June 10-12 before freely flying in the sky over Upo Wetland.
The pair of crested ibises, both born in 2016, were among a flock of 40 species that were reintroduced to the wild in South Korea in 2019.
Crested ibises, designated as the nation’s Natural Monument No. 198, used to be common nationwide but disappeared from the Korean Peninsula after being last seen in the Demilitarized Zone, which separates the two Koreas, in 1979.
South Korea has been trying to reintroduce the species to the wild since 2008, when a pair of Chinese-born crested ibises were donated by China.
In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping donated two male crested ibises to South Korea. Around that time, the Crested Ibis Restoration Center was established near Upo Wetland, a complex of natural wetlands.
The center has so far bred 432 crested ibises in captivity and released 80 of them into the wild since 2019. The Ministry of Environment is planning to send another flock of 40 ibises into Upo Wetland on May 6.
According to the county officials, the pair laid three eggs last month and two of them successfully hatched.
The county office has installed surveillance cameras over the nest where the chicks are being raised to monitor the situation 24 hours a day.
It also plans to manage their growth by conducting genetic and gender tests on them later and taking other protective measures.