A pair of very accommodating West African crowned cranes are serving as foster parents for two East African crowned crane chicks born recently at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
The chicks' eggs were laid by inexperienced first-time parents on one of the islands in the Safari Park's African Outpost. To make sure the offspring survived, the eggs were moved to an incubator at the park's chick rearing
A few days before the eggs were due to hatch, keepers placed them in the nest of a mated pair of West African crowned cranes with parenting experience.
Both eggs successfully hatched -- on Sept. 17 and Sept. 19 -- and the chicks are now healthy and thriving under the watchful eyes of their foster parents, according to Marci Rimlinger, lead keeper in the Bird Department.
"These East African crowned crane chicks are here in this exhibit because we feel it's the best place at the Safari Park for them to grow and flourish, since they are an endangered species," she said.
East African crowned cranes live near rivers and wetlands in Africa, where their habitats are being threatened due to habitat drainage, overgrazing and pesticide pollution.
The chicks can be seen just inside the entrance to the Safari Park at the crowned crane exhibit on the right side of the wooden walkway.