Welsh Mountain Zoo welcomes its first ever Darwin Rhea chick

The Welsh Mountain Zoo has welcomed its first ever Darwin Rhea chick.

The species, which is threatened with loss, hunting and egg collection in the wild, is known to be particularly challenging to breed in captivity.The Darwin Rhea is part of a group of flightless birds known as ‘Ratites’, which also includes the Emu and Ostrich. The species is known to be a particularly challenging to breed in captivity, marking a double celebration for the Zoo.

The chick, which has been named Suri, the name given to these birds in their native habitat of South America, hatched during lockdown and can be seen by visitors exploring its enclosure always under the watching gaze of mum and dad.

The Darwin Rhea can hit speeds of up to 60 kph. Credit: Welsh Mountain Zoo

Darwin Rheas can lay up to 30 eggs, but unlike most other birds, it is the male that incubates and rears the chicks.

Kim Wood, Director of Living Collections of the Welsh Mountain Zoo commented: “Thisis fantastic news for the Zoo!

"The Darwin Rhea is threatened with loss and fragmentation of habitat, hunting and egg collecting and so breeding in captivity is incredibly important, ensuring we can help conserve the species, by boosting captive populations.

“Mum, dad and baby are all doing well and we are monitoring them closely as the chickcontinues to grow", Kim added.

You can just make out the tiny chick sheltering in its mother's feathers Credit: Welsh Mountain Zoo