Transplanting intestinal bacteria into white-eyed gull chicks
The Zoological Garden hosts a breeding colony of white-eyed gulls, an endangered species. The breeding season of this species takes place at the beginning of summer.
At the beginning of August, the end of the breeding season, the animal keepers found two deserted eggs in their cage. The eggs were removed from the cage, incubated in an incubator, and hatched successfully. In nature the gulls feed their chicks by regurgitating food. In doing so, they transfer intestinal bacteria and digestion fluids to their chicks, which help them to digest their food. The chicks that have hatched in the incubator are not fed by their parents, so naturally they are not receiving these substances. To solve this problem the stomach content of an adult gull was siphoned out and inserted into the young chicks' stomach. The chicks' food is based on fish, and their keepers make sure that each of their meals will include three essential ingredients: fish flesh, bones, and intestines. In addition, the chicks receive digestive enzymes specifically for youngsters.