3 Guam Rail chicks hatched on Cocos Island just months after the rails were reintroduced into wild

3 Guam Rail chicks hatched on Cocos Island just months after the rails were reintroduced into wild

Patrick ThorntonMarch 30, 2011

 

Photo courtesy of Ginger Haddock/Fernbird Photography.

Photo courtesy of Ginger Haddock/Fernbird Photography.

Late last year 16 Guam Rails were reintroduced into the wild on Cocos island. And guess what? There are chicks!

Three chicks hatched this past weekend. The Guam Rail (local name: Ko’ko’ ) was nearly extinct in the wild beginning in the 1980s and biologists scrambled to capture the last remaining rails before they disappeared completely. They caught less than 20 birds and started a captive breeding program at the Department of Agriculture in Guam.

More than 25 years later, there are now 150 Ko’ko in captivity on Guam. The birds that were released back into the wild are still alive — an incredible feat that many dedicated conservationists made possible.

The Guam Rail served as the flagship species for a 2007 Pride campaign in Guam run by Cheryl Calaustro. She continued her great work throughout 2010 with the assistance of a Rare alumni grant. Calaustro’s hard work and her successful Rare campaign helped make this momentous occasion possible.

"This is great news as it shows that if we have a safe place (free or with very few predators) and good habitat, the birds can survive," Calaustro said. "We expected to have chicks as soon as 6-8 weeks after release as proved by other releases that have been done in the past."

We'll keep you updated on more developments. When we get pictures of the chicks in action we'll post them.