Lonely Planet Writer

UK zoo attempts to save rare Indonesian magpie

The Chester Zoo in England has launched a conservation breeding programme for the Javan green magpie – one of the world’s rarest species – in an effort to save them from extinction.

Six pairs of Javan green magpie - one of the world's rarest species - have been flown to Chester Zoo from Indonesia in a bid to save them from extinction.
Six pairs of Javan green magpie – one of the world’s rarest species – have been flown to Chester Zoo from Indonesia in a bid to save them from extinction. Image by Chester Zoo

Six pairs of the rare bird have recently been brought to the zoo from Indonesia. According to the zoo’s Facebook page: “a culture of keeping caged birds as a status symbol in Indonesia has seen huge areas of forest fall silent as millions of birds are taken from the wild. As the birds become rarer, their value increases, leaving many species on the brink of disappearing altogether”.

The zoo has been working for more than five years with the Cikananga Conservation Breeding Centre in Java to breed the birds there. However, the birds were a target of a series of break-ins at the breeding centre. The zoo and government officials decided to send 12 of the birds overseas in an effort to protect the birds.
It will be the first ever breeding programme for the species outside of Indonesia. Chester Zoo predicts the magpies currently number less than 100 in the wild.