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Rare ducks hatch at Chester Zoo

Thirty rare duck chicks have hatched at Chester Zoo. The zoo's 30 chicks could be as many as are left in the wild in the rest of the world.

The ducks are critically endangered in the wild Credit: Chester Zoo

The Baer’s pochard ducklings are listed by the International Union for the Conservation Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered as a result of hunting and loss of their habitat in Siberia and eastern Asia where they were once commonly found in their tens of thousands.

Experts fear just a few individuals are now left and the species could soon vanish altogether in the wild.

The 30 at the zoo could equal the number left in the wild Credit: Chester Zoo
The ducks hatched in an incubator Credit: Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo named top visitor attraction

Chester Zoo Credit: ITV

Chester Zoo has been named as the North West's top visitor attraction, by tourism chiefs at Visit England.

More than 1.4 million visitors saw the zoo's animals last year. It has already been classed as the UK's best by the travel rating website TripAdvisor.

More than 1.4 million people visited the zoo last year Credit: ITV

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"Hear Ye, hear ye" - town criers do battle in Chester

Some of the world's finest criers are in the North West to compete in the Chester World Town Crier Tournament. 24 criers from 10 nations will compete to make the best proclamations and come from as far afield as Germany, Australia and Canada, home of the current world champion.

Credit: PA

Town criers or the Bellmen, as they're sometimes called, date back to at least the 1500's. They were often the chief means of news communication with townspeople as many were unable to read.

Chester Zoo's celebrating the arrival of a pair of rare chicks

Newborn West African crane chick Credit: Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo is celebrating the arrival of two extremely rare chicks usually found in the African Savannah.

The baby birds are the first of their kind to hatch in a UK zoo this year and arrived after a 30-day incubation period.

West African black-crowned crane with newborn chicks

Keepers captured the moment the pair of West African black-crowned cranes as they take their first tentative steps with their watchful mum.

"This is a very significant breeding - the first in the UK this year.

Currently the chicks are small, yellow and fluffy and it's hard to believe that they'll grow up to look as striking and unusual as mum and dad.

But soon enough they'll develop golden feathers on top of their heads that almost resemble a Roman helmet. Already the young are very confident and capable of foraging with their parents."

– Curator of birds at Chester Zoo Andrew Owen
West African black crowned crane Credit: Chester Zoo

West African black-crowed cranes are vulnerable to extinction according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with just 15,000 estimated to remain in the wild.

The striking birds can be found from the western African country of Senegal to the central African country of Chad, but their habitat is under threat due to drainage, overgrazing and pesticide pollution.

The capture and trade of the species as 'guard dogs' is also having a dramatic effect on wild numbers.

Four little rock hyraxes are born at Chester Zoo

Four baby rock hyraxes have been born at Chester Zoo. They look like Guinea pigs but are in fact one of the closest living relatives of the elephant.

Rock hyraxes are a close relative of the elephant. Credit: Chester Zoo
Chester Zoo’s rock hyrax mum is five-years-old. Credit: Chester Zoo
When the pups are born they look like miniature adults. Credit: Chester Zoo

Keeping kids safe from porn and abuse - Chester firm leads the way

Children can use wifi without fear Credit: Registered Digital Institute

A Chester business is leading the way in helping to protect children from exposure to porn or abuse when they're using public wifi. The Registered Digital Institute, based in Chester, is pioneering a wifi accreditation scheme which will show parents which areas are safe places for children to use wifi.

Chester firm helps protect children Credit: Registered Digital Institute

Businesses that have already begun displaying the signs are Tesco and Starbucks but also Chester's Grosvenor Shopping Mall and Chester Cathedral.

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Rare parrot being hand-reared at Chester Zoo

Rare parrot being hand-reared at Chester Zoo Credit: Chester Zoo

A rare parrot is being hand-reared by keepers at Chester Zoo.

The hyacinth macaw chick was hatched in an incubator four weeks ago.

Rare parrot being hand-reared at Chester Zoo Credit: Chester Zoo

The chick, which is described as looking like a “cross between a dinosaur and a plucked chicken”, is so small that it is being kept in a Tupperware tub.

Keepers have given the youngster the unisex name Jessie, as it will be some time until it develops feathers that they can send away for DNA analysis in order to sex the youngster.

Eight charged after Cheshire police raids

250 officers were involved in the raids.

Eight people have been charged as part of a drugs operation by police in Cheshire.

The six men, one woman and one juvenile are all due to appear before Chester Magistrates' Court tomorrow morning.

They were all arrested today as part of a series of dawn raids targeting organised crime and illegal drugs.

They have been charged with drug offences including supplying Class A drugs and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Following the execution of the warrants, local neighbourhood officers have been carrying out high-visibility patrols to offer reassurance to local residents.

Cheshire raids - arrest total rises to 32

A further 10 people have been arrested this morning as part of Operation ImpACT, a high-profile operation targeting organised crime and illegal drugs.

It brings the total number of arrests today to 32 - the 27 men and five women are currently helping police with their enquiries.

Warrants were executed at a number of properties in Blacon, Hoole and The Lache, as well as addresses in Merseyside and North Wales.

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