Watch as Washington Wetland Centre celebrates arrival of first crane chick in its 46 year history
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The youngster hatched on Monday evening, May 9 under the careful watch of its parents, who have been part of the centre’s animal collection since 2008 and not successfully bred until now.
During the early stages of the pioneering Great Crane Project – which aims to take crane eggs from Europe and bring them to the UK to hatch and rear in safety before releasing them into the wild – the pair were transferred from WWT’s headquarters in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire to Washington 14 years ago.
The exciting news of their first chick follows months of nest building, prospecting and laying low towards the back of the centre’s stream channel exhibit, where they finally laid and incubated their precious egg.
WWT Washington’s collections team monitored the first-time parents’ behaviour and kept an eye on the nest to ensure things went as smoothly as possible.
Collection manager, Rhys Mckie, said: “We’re unbelievably thrilled to see our common cranes become parents for the first time. And it’s even more thrilling that this pair of cranes came from the Great Crane Project.
“The adults have been here since they were just one year old, arriving in 2008; so at the age of 15, this is a pretty big moment for them and for us all.
“Visitors may have noticed that the cranes have been less visible lately – something that happens every spring for this pair. But this year we’re so pleased to see they have been successful with their breeding efforts.”
The WWT Washington Wetland Centre says the new family is currently off-show to allow them time to bond in a protected environment and enable the team to closely monitor their health and behaviour.
Rhys added: “While there are still hurdles this family has to get over, we’re giving them the best possible chance to thrive.
“They’re doing all the right things and are bonding as we would hope, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that everything continues to go smoothly for this very special species, with visitors hopefully able to see them back in their enclosure this summer.”