Japan Succeeds in Artificial Incubation of Endangered Bird (News)
Toyama, June 18 (Jiji Press)—A Toyama zoo has succeeded in artificial incubation of two Japanese rock ptarmigan babies, the first feat for the endangered bird in 19 years in Japan, the Environment Ministry said Sunday.
Japan thus made major progress toward the establishment of artificial breeding methods for the bird, whose scientific name is Lagopus muta japonica, that will cover the full breeding cycle from egg laying and incubation to growth, officials said.
Toyama Family Park Zoo in the central Japan city of Toyama, commissioned to breed the bird, gave birth to the two babies late Saturday morning in special incubation equipment in which the temperature is kept at 37.6º Celsius.
They are both 6.5 centimeters long, with their estimated weights put at 15.6 grams and 17.1 grams. They seem to be in good health, but close attention is necessary because rock ptarmigan babies are particularly vulnerable to illness in their first two weeks, the officials said.
"Artificial breeding is considered a success only after babies grow," said Ishihara Yūji, head of the zoo. "We have a lot of things we still don't know, so we have more difficult tasks ahead."[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]