The Fort Worth Zoo has announced the successful hatchings of 13 lesser flamingo chicks (Phoenicopterus minor), hatched from January to March of this year. Lesser flamingos are extremely difficult to breed in captivity and reproduce less than any other flamingo species found in U.S. zoos, according to a news release. The Fort Worth Zoo boasts the most successful lesser flamingo breeding program in the world, with the hatchings of 196 chicks since the program began in 2002.
For years, the zoo’s lesser flamingo collection was housed in an outdoor, natural habitat that resulted in little breeding success. After making adjustments to the birds’ nesting habitat, which included adding heating lamps, a small pool and mirrors to provide the illusion of more birds, zoo staff celebrated the first successful hatching.
The zoo’s lesser flamingo breeding efforts are incredibly important to create a long-term, self-sustaining population of these birds in U.S. zoos – lesser flamingos are listed as near threatened by IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, primarily due to habitat alteration.
The zoo has earned a nomination as one of USA Today’s 10 best zoos in the country. The public can now weigh in and determine the final ranking by voting once a day, every day on all devices at the following link: http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-zoo-2017/fort-worth-zoo-fort-worth/.