A chick has hatched from an egg laid by a crested ibis, an internationally protected species, which was given by China to a conservation center on Sado Island off Niigata Prefecture, the facility said Monday.

The Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center confirmed that one of the eggs laid by 3-year-old Guan Guan had hatched for the first time since she arrived in Japan last October.

Officials at the conservation center said they saw the chick Monday morning, adding that the center is trying to hatch the eggs through both artificial and natural incubation.

Guan Guan and Lou Lou, a male bird, are crested ibises that were gifted by China for the first time in about 11 years, amid signs of improving relations between Tokyo and Beijing.

Guan Guan laid her eggs after mating with another male in Japan, according to the center.

Currently, all crested ibises released in Sado are descendants of the birds provided by China.

The last Japan-born crested ibis died in 2003, after the country succeeded in the artificial breeding of the rare birds using a pair donated by China for the first time in 1999.

The conservation center hopes to diversify the gene pool of the protected birds by artificially breeding them with the involvement of Guan Guan and Lou Lou.