NIIGATA – A crested ibis chick briefly left its nest on Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture on Friday, becoming the first one born in the wild to do so in 38 years, the Environment Ministry said.
Officials saw the ibis chick fly to a nearby tree branch late Friday morning via a live video feed that has been online since May 5, it said.
The chick is one of three that were hatched in the wild in late April to a 3-year-old male and a 2-year-old female released in March 2011. Five more were later born, bringing the total to eight.
Environment Minister Goshi Hosono praised the development as a significant step in repopulating the species.
“The development . . . represents a great step forward for Japan’s reintroduction of crested ibises to the wild.”
Japan has been trying to reintroduce the species to the wild since 2008, following successful artificial breeding with a pair of the birds presented by China in 1999. A total of 78 ibises have been released from the Sado ibis protection center.