Zoo hatches endangered birds

Zoo Knoxville has successfully hatched two female Bali mynahs, a critically endangered species of bird, as part of a collaborative effort of accredited zoos to save them from extinction.

Native to the island of Bali in Indonesia, these birds are classified as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List, the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the status of species. They have been driven to near-extinction due to unsustainable and illegal trapping to meet the demand for the pet trade. Fewer than 100 Bali mynahs remain in their native range.

Zoo Knoxville is actively working with the Bali Mynah Species Survival Plan (SSP), a collaborative, nationwide effort by zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to save this species from extinction. Currently, approximately 1,000 Bali mynahs are part of the breeding population worldwide.

“We are focusing on species that need our help to make a difference for the future of those populations,” said Michael Ogle, curator of ornithology and herpetology at Zoo Knoxville. “Every chick counts when you have a population as vulnerable as the Bali mynah and the two hatched here in Knoxville are part of a bigger safety net that accredited zoos are working to maintain.”

The two females were hatched to parents Zane and Kadek, both of whom came to Zoo Knoxville on a recommended pairing from the Species Survival Plan. They are the first clutch of eggs to hatch at the zoo since 1995, and the first time Zane and Kadek have successfully produced offspring.