Durrell Wildlife Park is home to ‘Sid’, a critically endangered Bali Starling. The series of pictures, taken by bird keeper Catherine Francescon while she and her colleagues have been busy rearing him, demonstrate a timeline of his growth. You can almost, literally, see his feathers growing!
Bali Starlings are the only endemic vertebrate left in the Indonesian Island of Bali. Experts believe that there are only around 130 or so left in the wild, and that the species is in real peril.
The extraordinary beauty of the Bali Starling has been a major factor in driving it to the brink of extinction. Its pure white plumage and blue streak across the eye, which hatchling ‘Sid’ will one day display, have made it irresistible to collectors. Attempts to reintroduce captive-bred birds to bolster the population have, in the past, failed, as poachers working for the illegal pet trade immediately target the new arrivals.
Education programs in Bali are now trying to tackle the problem. Meanwhile, a captive assurance or ‘safety-net’ population of about 1,000 birds has been established. Birds bred in the Jersey wildlife park are part of this international programme, which aims to keep the species going until the severe threats it faces in the wild can be addressed.
It's encouraging when healthy hatchlings, like ‘Sid’, are thriving at Durrell Wildlife Park!
More great pics of Sid's growth, below the fold!