Living Coasts has hatched a black-legged kittiwake for the first time. This beautiful seabird is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN because, as Keeper Lisa Jones explained “climate change has reduced their food supplies, so breeding success and adult survival has dropped.
“The UK breeding success has dropped by nearly 44%, and the whole population has dropped by around 60% since the 80s. With their numbers declining so quickly, it’s important that we can maintain viable captive populations and try to learn more about their behaviour, to help us protect them in the wild.”
Lisa added: “As far as I’m aware, we’re the only collection in the UK to hold and breed this species. Only a few collections in the world have this bird.” Living Coasts Curator Clare Rugg said: “We are extremely pleased to have bred them and hope to continue to do so. And the good news is, there are more eggs, but they are up on a ledge and the keepers don’t want to disturb the birds too much at this stage.”
Living Coasts is working with the shorebird Taxon Advisory Group to learn more about kittiwakes in zoos. Lisa said: “It’s important, as this species used to be common around the world, but this year their status has changed to Vulnerable due to a severe population decline.
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