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The Lincoln Park Zoo on Thursday is celebrating the hatching of three birds that belong to a species considered one of the rarest in the world.
The Bali mynah birds were hatched on Wednesday at the zoo, according to a statement from the zoo, which added that there are about 115 mynahs in the wild.
While their population fluctuates, there were about 15 Bali mynahs in the 1990s on the island of Bali in Indonesia, where the birds originate, the zoo said in a statement.
“This is the first successful hatching and fledging of Bali mynah chicks at the zoo in 12 years,” said Colleen Lynch, the Hope B. McCormick curator of birds at the zoo. “All told, the zoo has hatched 31 mynahs since 1972 and has been a national leader in the propagation and conservation of this critically endangered species.”
Their small numbers are attributed to poachers who trap the birds and sell them on the “caged-bird market,” said zoo spokeswoman Sharon Dewar, adding that their popularity as a songbird makes them a big-item ticket on the black market.
“Many conservationists consider them functionally extinct in the wild,” Dewar said.
The Lincoln Park Zoo has hatched 31 mynahs since 1972, but officials are waiting for a significant crack down on the black market in order to reintroduce the birds in the wild, the zoo said in a statement.