San Diego Zoo raises two Dalmatian pelican chicks

The San Diego Zoo is taking care of a couple of new residents. The Zoo’s Avian Propagation Center is raising two Dalmatian pelican chicks – one of the rarest pelican species in the world.

The chicks, one only 2-days old and one 11-days old, were born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, but their parents were unable to raise them. The chicks will be taken care of at the Avian Propagation Center until they’re old enough to return to the Safari Park.

San Diego Zoo Senior Keeper, Beau Parks said that the chicks are very easy to care for.

“By day two, they’re already feeding themselves, so basically we just keep them in a climate-controlled brooder so that they’re kept warm and moist, and we feed them; right now they’re being fed five times a day,” said Parks.

When the chicks are full grown, they could measure up to five to six feet in length and have a wingspan of nine to 11 feet.

“The Dalmatian pelican is a Eurasian species. It’s the largest species of pelican in the world and one of the largest flightiest birds in the world and they are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).”

The Dalmatian pelicans are part of the first North American breeding program for the vulnerable species. Since the breeding program was started in 2006, 34 chicks have been hatched.