2:42pm Thursday 27th December 2012
TWO paradise cranes are making history at Dudley Zoo as it is the first time the species has featured at the attraction since it opened in 1937.
The young male and female birds are part of the European Endangered Species Programme and staff hope to acquire a further male and female to form two breeding pairs.
Team Leader Birds Section, Kellie Piper, said: “They are both really friendly and come right up to the fence and make little noises to greet visitors.
“They quickly made themselves at home with the other birds in the aviary.”
Keepers have also started training them by getting them to follow a target and touching it for a reward.
Training the birds from early on will help keepers administer necessary medicines and carry out essential health checks on the cranes in the future, as they become less friendly as they get older.
The species, which is the national bird of South Africa, can live up to 60 years, but declined rapidly during the 1980s and its status is now classified as vulnerable in the wild.
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