MEMPHIS, TENN. – The Memphis Zoo is proud to announce the hatching of a clutch of West African Black Crowned Cranes. Three chicks hatched between August 30 and September 1.
This is a genetically important birth within the crane community, due to the fact that the mother of the chicks is a “founder.” A founder is the first in a genetic line. This means that her genetics were previously unrepresented in the zoo population.
“This is a very significant breeding,” said Carol Hesch, Assistant Curator. “It took years of hard work and patience, and we’re very excited.”
West African Black crowned cranes are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. There is an estimated population of 15,000. In the wild, they range from Senegal to Chad in West Africa. They are vulnerable due to their habitat loss and capture for domestication.
About the Memphis Zoo West African Black crowned cranes
Along with being the first ever hatching at the Memphis Zoo, this is the parent’s first clutch. The mother, a wild-caught 31-year-old, came to the Memphis Zoo from a private collection in 1982. The father, an eight-year-old, came by way of the Audubon Zoo. The first-time parents are doing a superb job, according to Zoo staff. “Since early on, they’ve been great parents,” Hesch said. “I can’t praise them enough for the excellent job they’ve been doing.”