YESAN, South Korea, May 23 (Yonhap) — A released stork has hatched two chicks in the wild in the country’s central region, marking the species’ first natural breeding in the country, the Yesan municipal government said Monday, quoting a research center tasked with restoring the endangered bird.
The Oriental White Stork Park in Yesan, a town in South Korea’s central province of South Chungcheong, said its researchers confirmed the chicks in a nest of a female stork named Minhwang and a male stork named Manhwang on Sunday. The two are part of eight storks that the park returned to the wild in September last year.
The female stork Minhwang (L) and male stork Manhwang tend to their newly hatched chicks at a stork park in Yesan, a town about 134 kilometers south of Seoul, in this photo provided on May 23, 2016, by the Yesan municipality. (Yonhap)
Observation of the chicks through a telescope showed they are around 10 centimeters long, and they are believed to have hatched on Friday and Sunday, respectively, based on their body sizes, the center said.
It is the first time since 1971, when the species became extinct in the wild in South Korea that the stork has had natural breeding. About a month ago, the park said Minhwang laid at least two eggs in the wild.
Minhwang and Manhwang had flown as far as North Korea via the southwestern town of Yeonggwang before settling in the nest early last month. The couple were spotted taking turns sitting on the eggs and keeping the nest in good shape, it said.
This file photo, dated Sept. 3, 2015, shows Oriental white storks being released into the wild from a stork park in the town of Yesan, 134 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)
The Yesan municipal government established the park in 2009 as part of its efforts to promote the reintroduction of the bird, designated as national monument No. 199, and released six adult storks and two young ones into the wild last year. It plans to return 10 storks a year to the wild after reorienting them.