Feds announce plan to launch uncommon kingfisher


A uncommon kingfisher species that has existed solely in captivity since 1988 is the main target of a reintroduction undertaking which will at some point return it to the island of Guam.

The Sihek (often known as the Guam Kingfisher) is endemic to Guam and declined following the introduction of the predatory brown tree snake to the Pacific island within the Nineteen Fifties. At the moment, Sihek are managed beneath human care at zoos within the continental U.S. and by the Guam Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Assets (DAWR).

On Thursday, April 13, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service introduced {that a} “nonessential experimental inhabitants” of the species will probably be established on Palmyra Atoll, a bunch of small sandy islands co-managed by The Nature Conservancy and FWS. The atoll is positioned about 3,646 miles southeast of Guam and about 960 miles south of Hawai’i. Whereas it has no everlasting residents, scientists and employees from the federal authorities and nonprofits reside and work on the island. Notably, rats have been eradicated and native rainforest is being restored to the atoll.

Beneath part 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act, a inhabitants of a threatened or endangered species could also be designated as an experimental inhabitants previous to its (re)introduction. The nonessential experimental inhabitants permits FWS to develop tailor-made take prohibitions which can be essential and advisable to offer the conservation of the species.

After the rule goes into impact, captive-bred Sihek will probably be launched on Palmyra Atoll to extend the worldwide inhabitants of the species and to refine launch procedures for eventual reintroduction to Guam. This has been an on-going collaborative effort with Guam DAWR, The Nature Conservancy, Affiliation of Zoos and Aquariums, Sedgwick County Zoo, and the Zoological Society of London.

“The designation of an experimental inhabitants of Sihek on Palmyra Atoll units the stage for the introduction of this species to the atoll,” mentioned Megan Laut, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restoration program supervisor. “We’ll be taught so much in regards to the Sihek habits within the wild, on greatest practices to launch them, and also will enhance the variety of birds that exist on Earth.”

The brown tree snake nonetheless exists on Guam, stopping a reintroduction try right now.

The Sihek is a putting cinnamon-brown hen with vivid blue wings and tail. It has a protracted, heavy invoice that signifies its predatory feeding habits. Sihek feed completely on animal prey together with skinks, geckos, spiders, beetles, and land crabs. They’re a “sit and wait predator” that perch immobile on uncovered branches and swoop right down to seize prey off the bottom with their invoice. They’re socially monogamous, and pairs share duties equivalent to territory protection, incubation, and chick rearing.

The Pacific Every day Information notes: “The hen doesn’t thrive in captivity, and in keeping with the Nationwide Fish and Wildlife Service plan revealed within the Federal Register, ‘little ahead progress towards a restoration program within the wild has led to few new establishments keen to carry or breed the species, which finally limits inhabitants development. The small founding inhabitants, in addition to the restricted capability to extend the inhabitants past its present measurement, has critical implications for long-term survival of Sihek.’”

The newspaper provides: “Though we’re definitely a great distance from having the ability to convey the Sihek house, this experiment provides us hope that the hen can at some point be restored to its pure habitat.”

Extinct-in-the-wild kingfisher hatches at Smithsonian

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