VIDEO: Easter chicks make their debut at Linton Zoo

09:02 21 April 2014

The Turkmenian Eagle owlets with mum Rohan at Linton Zoo.

The Turkmenian Eagle owlets with mum Rohan at Linton Zoo.

Archant

Linton Zoo has welcomed its first Easter chicks ... three adorable Turkmenian eagle owlets.

The fluffy trio would have weighed just 50 grams each at hatching in mid March, but they grow very rapidly and at three weeks old already weigh around a kilo.

Zoo manager Kim Simmons said: “Breeding is seasonal. They scrape out a nest at the bottom of an old tree or rock crevice, the female then incubates the eggs alone whilst the male hunts and provides food for both her and the youngsters.

“Appropriately over the Easter weekend they have started toddling around and have been seen by visitors taking their first few adventurous steps outside of their nesting cave, whilst under the protective gaze of their beady-eyed mum.”

The Turkmenian eagle owl is one of the largest and most spectacular owls in the world and is closely related to the European eagle owl. However, it is now believed to be extinct in its original wild range around Turkmenistan. And there are also very few in captivity with only 26 known pure-bred individuals in zoos across Europe. Ten of these have hatched at Linton since 2011.

Both parents of these special birds were also hatched at Linton – mum “Rohan” is seven and their dad “Pip” turned 25 years old this year.

“Rohan and Pip are currently the only known breeding pair,” added Ms Simmons.

“This makes these three owlets especially important individuals, although they may not realise it.

“Our breeding programme provides as safeguard against total extinction for this very charismatic bird.”

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