Zookeepers Feed Bird With Puppet That Imitates Its Parents

Playing Why This Zoo Uses a Puppet to Feed Rescued Baby Chick

Zookeepers in the Czech Republic have turned themselves into puppeteers to help a critically endangered Javan green magpie survive.

Officials at the Prague Zoo found the precious egg containing the bird in after the parents apparently tossed another egg out of their nest.

The magpie chick, which hatched a month ago, is being kept in a box and fed using a puppet that imitates a parent bird.

Zoo birdkeeper Antonin Vaidl said the puppet is being used to make sure the bird is capable of breeding, which won't happen if it gets too used to people.

Vaidl said the puppet doesn't have to be a perfect imitation of an adult bird because the baby responds to certain signals, such as a red beak, black patches around the eyes and a bright green background.

The green magpies are among the most endangered birds on earth. It's estimated there are less the last 50 living in the wild while another 50 are in captivity in several zoos.

Britain's Chester Zoo brought six pairs of green magpies from Asia in 2015, giving one pair to the Prague Zoo and another to a zoo in Jersey, England, as part of a coordinated effort to save the species.

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