June 26, 2008

Zoo Hopes to Get Cranes to Mate

Officials at a Boston zoo have brought two African wattled cranes together, hoping they will reproduce.

Kotze and Pepe were put in a joint exhibit at the Franklin Park Zoo on Memorial Day. So far, the two have shown little interest in each other, the Boston Globe reports.

The female, Kotze, did a mating dance Wednesday as a reporter watched. But she aimed her ardor at the zoo's curator, Fred Beall.

That's not what I want, Beall said. That's what they should be doing to each other.

Only about 8,000 African wattled cranes are thought to remain, including 230 in zoos. That makes their future uncertain.

Beall said the number has dropped sharply in the past decade because of habitat loss and birds captured for the illegal pet trade.

Kotze has been in the Franklin Park Zoo since 2003. The zoo recently acquired Pepe from San Diego, trading him for another crane that had failed to mesh with Kotze.

Beall said that one reason the pair may be standoffish is that African wattled cranes normally mate when the weather cools off. If they still do not get together, the zoo is prepared to try artificial insemination.