Wednesday, 11 August 2010

INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION for our Kookaburra chick & tiny duckling!


Since we released the story late last week about Kookie the Kookaburra chick and her unusual relationship with a newly hatched, endangered duckling, we’ve been contacted by various media representatives from across the UK and the USA!

Some of the articles have been really great – I’m including this one from the Daily Mail on-line (9th August) with images by Solent News:

I’ll take you under my wing: Kookaburra chick strikes up unlikely friendship with tiny duckling

Solent News

They should be predator and prey but this Kookaburra and tiny duckling have confounded experts by striking up an extraordinary friendship.

In the wild, the six-week-old Kookaburra, called Kookie, would not have thought twice about eating his companion for lunch.

But the pair seem to have developed an exceptionally unusual bond after both being orphaned at birth.

Kookie had to be saved by staff at the Seaview Wildlife Encounter, near Ryde in the Isle of Wight, after his parents killed their other two offspring.

And the rare Madagascar Teal duckling, who is two-days-old, was rescued from one of the park’s aviaries because he was too small to defend himself against larger birds.

Initially the pair were kept separate but staff had concerns for the tiny duckling, who was obviously lonely and missing his mother.Solent News 

So their keepers  cautiously introduced the pair.  To their amazement the duckling instantly cuddled up under the Kookaburra’s protective wing and Kookie didn’t seem to mind playing the caring parent.

Lorraine Adams, director of the Seaview Wildlife Encounter, said she’d never seen anything like it before.

She said: ‘one evening I had them both in my office, I was giving Kookie his last feed of the day when the tiny duckling started crying for his Mum.  I just thought: “what if I put them together, could they be friends?”

‘I wanted to see what would happen and if Kookie showed any signs of malice I was ready to pull the little duckling straight out.Solent News

‘I popped him in next to Kookie and he instantly just nestled underneath him like he would’ve done to his Mum.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  The little duckling was trying to make himself warm by burying himself underneath Kookie.

‘And Kookie didn’t blink an eye – he just sat there and let is happen.  He had obviously been feeling lonely too.

‘It had a real “aww” factor.  Since then the pair have really gelled.  They just don’t realise that they’re natural enemies.

‘Kookie makes a great Mum, he’s just taken it in his stride.  The little duckling climbs all over him but he doesn’t mind, he just sits there.’

While they are hopeful the pair will remain friends for life, staff at the wildlife park admit they may have to separate them in future.

Miss Adams explained: ‘At the moment we’re not sure what will happen.

‘It would be fantastic if they could just grow up together and be friends for life but we’re not sure what KoSolent Newsokie will do when he gets older.

‘Just to be on the safe side, we’re going to separate them in a couple of weeks.

The Kookaburra, which can grow up to 17 inches in length, is native to Australia, New Guinea and the Aru Islands, north of the Australian coast.

The birds are carnivorous and will eat anything from lizards to snakes and mice.l  They have also been known to eat the young of other birds.

At the Seaview Wildlife Encounter Kookie is fed a diet of baby chicks and minced meat.

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