DTI001 20_12_17 

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World's first display of rare magpie puts spotlight on Asian bird crisis

Javan green magpies1CHESTER ZOO HAS scored a world first in displaying Javan green magpies (Cissa thalassina), as it unveils its new multi-million pound Islands habitats.

August visitors to Chester Zoo, Cheshire, will get a first look at the £3million investment, which includes an indoor and outdoor area with a walkthrough aviary filled with dense planting, streams and waterfalls for Asian songbirds, such as Critically Endangered Javan green magpie, Asian fairy-bluebirds (Irena puella) and Endangered Sumatran laughingthrush (Garrulax bicolor).

The new Islands exhibits, which opened on August 8 and features two habitats for endangered sun bears and Malayan tapirs, adds to the zoo’s huge South East Asian Islands zone – the largest zoozoological development in UK history.

It is the first time the Javan green magpie – one of the world’s most endangered corvid species – has gone on display to the public anywhere in the world.

In October 2016, the zoo secured a first ever breeding of this species, after it had brought six pairs sourced from Indonesia into its captive breeding programme.

The programme – a first for the species outside of Indonesia – was a last attempt to save the magpie from extinction in the wild as a result of the illegal wild life trade. A young pair bred at the zoo will take up residence in the new walkthrough aviary.

Mike Jordan, the zoo’s collections director, said: “Islands has really helped us raise the profile of some lesser-known species here at the zoo and driven a huge interest towards animals that are often overlooked.

“We want to throw a spotlight on even more species and give visitors the opportunity to learn more and help make a difference too."

CHESTER Zoo invites visitors to be the first to experience the new expedition this August. Book tickets in advance online at: www.chesterzoo.org and receive a 10 per cent discount on entry ticket price.

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