Video

VIDEO: Saving Guam’s Micronesian kingfishers from extinction

Captive breeding programs have kept an endangered bird alive

August 16, 2016

In the late 1980s, 29 of the last wild Micronesian kingfishers on Guam were brought to the Philadelphia Zoo to start a captive breeding program. Invasive brown tree snakes had almost eradicated the bird, known as the “sihek” in Guam’s Chamorro language, from the island. Today, after decades of care and research, the population has rebounded to over 150 birds living in American zoos and a captive breeding center on Guam. Conservation officials are working on plans to reintroduce the birds to the wild, but brown tree snakes on Guam still present a significant barrier to the birds returning home.

For more on the complex conservation status of Guam Micronesian kingfishers, read “Coming back from captivity.”

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About the Author

Ellie Kincaid graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in English and minors in writing and biology. She’s worked on research projects ranging from multiple sclerosis to Jane Austen, and has written about medicine, health care, and animals for The Dodo and Tech Insider.

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