Seventeen Spoon-billed Sandpiper eggs have hatched in captivity, giving hope for the survival of one of the world's most endangered species of bird.
Twenty thumbnail-sized eggs were transported from Arctic Russia to WWT Slimbridge in the latest stage in a breeding programme which aims to save the species from extinction. The first eggs hatched at on 4th July 1012. Two members of staff have worked around the clock to give these chicks the best possible start in life and a chance to bring this species back from the brink of extinction.
"Every chick could be a saviour of its species," said Nigel Jarrett, head of conservation breeding at WWT, who was responsible for transporting the eggs.
Staff described the first chick hatching as an "awesome" moment. It is the latest stage in a conservation breeding programme. The spoon-billed sandpiper is one of the world's rarest birds, with fewer than 200 breeding pairs thought to be left in existence.