CHICAGO (CBS) — The Lincoln Park Zoo can now count three more examples of one of the world’s rarest birds among its residents.
Three Bali mynah birds were hatched at the zoo on Wednesday, according to a statement.
While the population of the Bali mynah fluctuates, as of the 1990s, there were only about 15 Bali mynahs in the 1990s on the island of Bali in Indonesia, where the birds originate, the zoo said in a statement.
Bali mynahs today are found almost exclusively in zoos.
“This is the first successful hatching and fledging of Bali mynah chicks at the zoo in 12 years,” Colleen Lynch, the Hope B. McCormick curator of birds at the zoo, said in the statement. “All told, the zoo has hatched 31 mynahs since 1972 and has been a national leader in the propagation and conservation of this critically endangered species.”
The Bali mynah’s numbers have been depleted because poachers collect them for the illegal pet trade, in which they are valued on the so-called caged bird market for their striking plumage and lovely songs. Their plumage is white with black wingtips, and a blue mask around the eyes.
The Lincoln Park Zoo and other zoos have decided not to release the birds back into the wild until there is a significant crackdown on the black market, the zoo said.