Little Dalmatian Pelicans – level 3
The San Diego Zoo is taking care of a couple of new residents in the form of two very rare, but rather strange-looking pelicans. The Dalmatian Pelican chicks were born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, but their parents were unable to raise them, so they will be looked after by the Avian Propagation Centre until they’re old enough to return to the safari park, but the new guests seem pretty low-maintenance.
“By day two, they’re already feeding themselves. So basically, we just keep them in a climate-controlled brooder where they’re kept warm and moist. And then we feed them. Right now they’re being fed five times a day.”
At full size, these chicks could measure up to 6 feet in length (1.8 metres) with a wing span of between 9 and 11 feet (2.7 metres to 3.4 metres).
“Dalmatian Pelican is a Eurasian species. It’s the largest species of pelican in the world and one of the largest flying birds in the world and they’re listed as vulnerable by the IUCN.”
Dalmatian Pelicans are part of the first North American breeding program for the vulnerable species. And since the start of the program in 2006, 34 chicks have been hatched.
Difficult words: avian (relating to birds), propagation (breeding – keeping animals and let them have babies), low-maintenance (requiring little work), brooder (a heated house for chicks), moist (slightly wet), species (animal kind), IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), hatch (to get out of an egg).
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