National

Chick born to wild crested ibis pair on Sado Island marks 40-year first

Kyodo

A crested ibis chick has been found in a nest built in the wild on an island in the Sea of Japan, making it the first to be born to a truly wild pair in Japan in 40 years, the Environment Ministry said Friday.

The ministry confirmed the existence of the chick after seeing its beak while the parent birds were feeding it in the nest on Thursday afternoon on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture. The previous day the adults had been seen incubating eggs in the nest.

If it survives, the chick is expected to leave its nest in late May or a little later.

After Japan’s last wild-born ibis died in 2003, the government sought to revive the species by utilizing birds donated by China, and 10 ibises were reintroduced into the wild on Sado in 2008.

In 2012, eight crested ibises born to birds bred in captivity were hatched in the wild on the island, becoming the first chicks to be born in the wild in Japan for 36 years.

The birth of the newest crested ibis chick — born in the wild to birds that were themselves born and raised in the wild — suggests that efforts to revive natural reproduction are working.

“Efforts to boost (the crested ibis population) in the wild have moved to a new stage. We would like to keep our eye on (the chick) so it can leave the nest without incident,” Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa told a news conference.