Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Exmoor Zoo breeds first baby ibis in UK

15:30 12 June 2014

The baby ibis at Exmoor Zoo.

The baby ibis at Exmoor Zoo.

Archant

The birds will undergo a transformation as they grow up at their home in Exmoor Zoo.

The baby ibis will undergo a transformation to look like this.The baby ibis will undergo a transformation to look like this.

EXMOOR Zoo has celebrated the arrival of some very special arrivals – the first ever southern bald ibis born in the UK.

The birds, known by their Latin name geronticus calvus, are usually found in the highlands of southern Africa with less than 2,000 breeding pairs.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified these birds as vulnerable and has serious doubts about their survival in the wild.

Danny Reynolds, curator at Exmoor Zoo, said: “Exmoor Zoo participates in all manner of different breeding programmes in captivity to help protect wild populations but this has to be one of the strangest babies to be hatched here.

“What is fantastic for us is it is the first time this species has been bred in the UK. Very much an achievement for us.”

Head keeper Mr Derek Gibson has been travelling to and from work with this ‘special’ baby and been staying up all hours of the night as its substitute parent feeding the bird a liquidised mix of baby pink mice and papaya.

Now at about three weeks of age, its diet is changing and the bird is large enough to swallow whole food items such as small mice, worms and bits of raw meat and fish.

Exmoor Zoo has a group of four of these birds which have just started to mature at five years of age.

This ‘ugly’ little addition will initially join other ibis species to grow up and after two or three years will be introduced to the adult colony and take its turn at creating life.

The bird will grow to the size of a heron and develop a bright red skin cap on its bald head, a down-turned beak for probing in the soil (like our curlew).

One of only two species of bald ibis, geronticus calvus is less well know compared to its closest relative, the northern or waldrapp ibis, which is close to extinction.

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 15:04
Scenes from Ilfracombe May Day 2016

Watch: The spirit of summer is released a day earlier than usual as Ilfracombe’s May Day celebrations enjoyed a good turn out

Read more
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Torrington May Fair 2015. Pictures: Sarah Howells

Torrington is getting ready for its Mayfair celebrations and carnival this coming week - everything you need to know here.

Read more
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Ben Blake, Craig Huxtable, Lewis Pillman, Hettie Cook and Karen Vasey-Szwer are among a group of eight Bideford College students hoping to travel to Ecuador. Picture: Submitted

Supermarket check-out bag pack among a series of stunts carried out to raise funds for ‘life-changing’ trip to Ecuador.

Read more
Friday, April 29, 2016
Stowford Farm Meadows

Will Stowford Farm Meadows be crowned the king of sites in the Great British Park off?

Read more
Friday, April 29, 2016
Dave Butt, pictured during the Pilton Festival, was a staunch community champion. Picture: Barbara Fryer Photography

Hundreds pack Barnstaple Parish Church to bid farewell to community champion

Read more
Friday, April 29, 2016

Firefighters from Barnstaple were called after reports of a smell of smoke and a fire alarm sounding.

Read more
Friday, April 29, 2016

South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is letting people behind the scenes ahead of one of their busiest weekends.

Read more
Friday, April 29, 2016
Councillor Sue Hayward and town clerk Will Austin outside Barnstaple Guildhall

Barnstaple Town Council has big plans for the Guildhall, but the historic building needs a bit of sprucing up first.

Read more
Friday, April 29, 2016
Chicken hen.

Hen evades rescue attempts but appears content in adopted A39 lay-by home

Read more
Thursday, April 28, 2016
North Devon District Hospital, Barnstaple

700-word response says there are ‘no red lines’ to reviewing services but ‘will not add to speculation’

Read more

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 3°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications