Kusaka, Brosaka and Lezhaka: fish owl chicks are now in the Moscow Zoo

August 17
Parks and pedestrian areas

Three fish owl chicks were brought to the Moscow Zoo. They were placed in the center for the reproduction of rare animal species of the Moscow Zoo near Volokolamsk. The birds arrived from the island of Kunashir as a part of the conservation program in respect of this bird species.

"The primary goal of the Moscow Zoo in preserving the fish owl is to create an artificial population. The species is vanishing, and guaranteed survival is impossible even in a reserve. One sudden big crisis (for example, a mass disease) can destroy the entire species forever, " Svetlana Akulova, Director General of the Moscow Zoo, said.

In the future, it is planned to use the chicks for making breeding pairs. There was already one fish owl in the center, brought in 2019. This is a two-year-old female named Filya. There are two males and one female among the new chicks, so zoologists have a chance to achieve their goal.

The new chicks were named Kusaka (Biter), Brosaka (Rusher) and Lezhaka (Bedder). The names were chosen according to their behavior in odd situations. It took them two-three days to get used to the new territory, during which time they ate little, but then their appetite returned to normal.

All the four fish owls of the Moscow Zoo are now in non-exhibited aviaries, meaning that visitors will not be able to see them.

The chicks were removed exclusively from artificial nests that were located outside the protected areas, and from the nests where two chicks were born. This is critically important, since in the wild, the second chick dies from cold, starvation or can be even eaten by the parents in case of extreme hunger. Therefore, the employees took the smallest in the pair.

The fish owl is one of the rarest birds in the world. There are 300-400 pairs left in Russia and 80-100 pairs in Japan. Some populations exist in China and North Korea but their number is unknown. The extinction of the species is primarily associated with the reduced food supply. The bird feeds on fresh fish from running water, the volume of which reduces every year. In various territories, the number of fish owls reduced two to four times in recent decades.

To save the fish owl, nature reserves are created, artificial nests are made. In 2017, a program for the conservation of the fish owl was adopted to combine specialists’ efforts in saving the species. Their goals include the development of methods to maintain and breed the fish owl in captivity (selection of breeding pairs, development of feeding rations, construction of aviaries being most suitable for the birds, veterinary service, transportation). This should result in developing prerequisites for the conservation and reintroduction of the fish owl, and returning it back to nature.

Source: mos.ru

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