NIIGATA — A rare crested ibis chick struggling to enter the world on Sunday continued its attempts to crack its shell from the inside after poking a small hole in the shell at a preservation center on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture, officials said.
The egg is one of four laid by Mei Mei, a crested ibis given to Japan by China last October. The chick began hatching late Saturday or early Sunday, and it has been attempting to crack the shell open with its beak since then, according to the officials.
It usually takes 20 to 40 hours from the time the first crack is made in the shell until the baby bird emerges, the officials said, adding the chick will be the fourth crested ibis bred artificially at the center. The chick’s tiny beak was observed moving inside the egg, and faint chirping was also heard, according to the center.
Mei Mei’s mate Yu Yu is the first successful offspring born through artificial incubation of crested ibis eggs in Japan. Center officials earlier said all four eggs — laid between March 26 and April 3 — have likely been fertilized. The eggs are the first clutch produced by Mei Mei and Yu Yu, who began mating on March 20.
The crested ibis is an endangered species. Although its scientific name is Nipponia Nippon, the birds are virtually extinct in Japan. Only one ibis born in the wild in Japan remains — a female named Kin thought to be more than 30 years old, who lives at the Sado center.
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