Friday, August 03, 2007

World's First Cryochick Hatches At Audubon

NEW ORLEANS -- He's less than two months old, but a Mississippi sandhill crane is already making history.

Researchers at the Audubon Institute said the crane is the world's first cryochick -- a bird created by fertilizing an egg with semen that had been frozen.

The male chick hatched June 20 at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species.

According to the Audubon Institute, Mississippi sandhill cranes are endangered, with fewer than 100 found at or near the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge in Gautier, Miss.

Disappearing habitat is believed to be the primary reason for their reduced numbers.

The Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species has released more than 130 chicks to the refuge over the past 10 years. The chicks are raised by a staff member carefully trained to mimic natural crane feeding and dressed in a crane costume.

The cryochick chick will be raised the same way and will be sent to the refuge when it is older.

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