Brevard Zoo hatches critically endangered baby chicks to help boost wild population

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The Brevard Zoo is working to help boost the population of a critically endangered bird species.

The zoo announced this week that it has hatched its first Florida grasshopper sparrow chicks.

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Once the little ones have matured and been medically cleared, zoo officials said the chicks will be released into the wild to help boost the species’ population.

Zoo officials said the species is in a steep decline due to habitat loss, disease, limited genetic diversity and nonnative fire ants, which can invade nests and feed on chicks.

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The chicks’ parents were genetically matched by a team of Florida grasshopper sparrow experts to ensure the healthiest and most diverse population of the species, the zoo said.

Read more about the species and the zoo’s efforts here.

READ: ‘Retirement homes’ set up to care for older animals at Brevard Zoo

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.