Where have all the Guam birds gone? Probably to the snakes and other predators out there. Recently in St. Louis Zoo, a baby Kingfisher was born and then brought to Guam. There’s a new player out there in the race to bring back Guam birds–the Philadelphia Zoo.
Now, as the Philadelphia Zoo prepares for Saturday’s opening of its new McNeil Avian Center, a $17.5 million reinvention of the original facility, vice president Andy Baker hopes the story will have a happier ending for at least two species in its care: the Guam rail and the Micronesian kingfisher.
Both species, native to Guam, are extinct in the wild. But the Philadelphia Zoo is participating in a captive-breeding program to bolster the population and reintroduce some of the birds into their native habitat.
They even built a cool looking exhibit in preparation. It’s amazing what $17.5 million can do. Right now there are 103 Guam Kingfishers in zoos across the US and they are slowing introducing the Rails back to Guam. These efforts are amazing (I’m still hooked on the $17.5 million and probably more when we think of the other zoos out there). What’s exciting is that these developments along with the Guam buildup for the military will put Guam on the map. We just need a way to get rid of the snakes. Sorry, I keep thinking mongoose.