WEST PALM BEACH, FLA - May 20, 2022 - To celebrate Endangered Species Day today, Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society has a fitting announcement. Statuesque red-crowned crane parents Akai (mom) and Yuki (dad) hatched a baby chick in the late morning of Wednesday, May 4. After 35 days of incubation, the young one made a grand entry inside the habitat as a surprise delight for guests passing by.
The Zoo’s avian zoologists have appropriately named the long-legged fluff ball “Obi.” An Obi is part of a Japanese kimono and coincidentally the name of a favorite Star Wars character. Since red-crowned cranes are found in southeastern Russia, northeast China, Mongolia and eastern Japan, the name honors the crane’s Asian heritage.
“Obi is meeting all the expected milestones, including growing much taller by the day. We are lucky to have such amazing, attentive and experienced parents in Akai and Yuki. Their partnership during the incubation, and now parenting, is inspiring to all of us,” said Michelle Smurl, chief animal officer at Palm Beach Zoo.
Once thought to be extinct in the early 1900s, red-crowned cranes were rediscovered and deemed a protected natural monument of the region. With approximately 2,000 birds remaining in the wild, this newborn is an important addition to the red-crowned crane population in human care and their family across the globe. Red-crowned cranes are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Cranes weigh about 4 ounces (120g) and are only a few inches tall when they hatch. They will reach their full adult size at 4.5 feet tall after only three short months. For the first few weeks of life, Akai and Yuki have been taking care of the growing chick while the zoologists keep watch. Soon the experienced Zoo veterinary team will take the opportunity to do a quick initial exam and blood test. The blood test will determine the gender of the growing chick, which is important for the American Association of Zoo’s and Aquarium species survival plan coordinator to determine where the chick is most needed in the future.
The crane family is located at the entrance to the Asia section of the Zoo and can be easily seen from the guest pathway. Obi stays close to his parents. Book your tickets to meet Obi at palmbeachzoo.org.
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