VALLEY PARK, Mo. – Springtime means babies and it’s no different at the World Bird Sanctuary.
“There’s currently three that are going to hatch in this next week. We had one hatch out the other day. And I just put seven more in the incubator yesterday,” says CJ White, a naturalist at the Valley Park facility.
White is known as “The Pheasant Guy” and is referencing Edward’s Pheasant eggs. He is particularly proud of his breeding pair, Ringo and Tammy.
“For these birds, their great grandchildren basically will be a part of the reintroduction process in Vietnam.”
The Edward’s Pheasant is believed to be extinct outside of captivity, not seen in the wild since the year 2000. Native to Vietnam, their habitat was destroyed by clear cutting and chemicals like Agent Orange used during the war.
“It was something that completely wiped out of the greenery, all the insects, not leaving much food or hiding places for these birds,” he said.
As the birds began to disappear in the wild, some were captured and bred domestically. The offspring of those birds are now in zoos and sanctuaries around the world.
“We’re actually able to breed these birds in a way that there’s more and more in human care,” White said.
Now that the forests of Vietnam have had time to recover, the World Bird Sanctuary is working to bring the birds back.
“We’re hopefully going to be the first facility in North America to export young Edward’s Pheasants back to their native range,” White said.
Tammy and Ringo’s chicks will be bred with mates from sanctuaries around the world to ensure a genetically strong line is returned to Vietnam.
“We’re very excited and it’s constantly moving forward to make sure that these birds not only a chance but a really good chance of survival in the future.”
You can help the World Bird Sanctuary help the birds by visiting any day of the week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by donating at www.worldbirdsanctuary.org/donate.