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Endangered Red-Crowned Crane born at Palm Beach Zoo

Baby red-crowned crane, Obi, hatched at the Palm Beach Zoo May 4.

Photo by Palm Beach Zoo

A baby bird has arrived at Palm Beach Zoo. Obi, an endangered red-crowned crane, hatched May 4 after incubating for 35 days.

The chick’s parents, mother Akai and father Yuki, are experienced partners familiar with raising young. The chick is on track with red-crowned crane milestones and will reach his full height of about 4½ feet at approximately 3 months old.

Despite his “Star Wars” birthday, Obi is not named for Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi, but for a part of a Japanese kimono, a nod to the hatchling’s Asian origins. Native to Russia, China, Mongolia and Japan, red-crowned cranes live 30 to 40 years and produce two eggs with an incubation period between 29 and 34 days, though it is common for only one egg to survive.

Seen as a symbol of loyalty in Asian cultures, red-crowned cranes often mate for life, as is the case with Akai and Yuki.

The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society announced Obi to the public May 20, Endangered Species Day. Red-crowned cranes are endangered because of the loss of breeding and wintering grounds in wetlands, caused by human destruction. Officially, the birds are “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

Agricultural, industrial and economic human impacts have caused the loss of land for cranes and other birds. Aside from whooping cranes, red-crowned cranes are the most endangered cranes in the world, with probably fewer than 2,000 adults in the wild. In the early 1900s the birds were believed to be extinct. Captivity breeding plays an essential role in the survival of the species.

The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservatory is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which is dedicated to animal welfare and conservation. What started over 50 years ago in West Palm Beach as the Dreher Park Zoo changed its name to the Palm Beach Zoo in 1997 and the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society in 2014 to reflect its support for protecting wildlife through conservation efforts.

Obi and his parents are safely nestled within the zoo and can be seen by visitors. The zoo is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Tickets are $24.95 for adults, $22.95 for those 60 and older, $18.95 for children 3 to 12 and free to younger children. Visit for information on tickets and group rates.


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