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Wednesday, 30 October, 2002, 11:28 GMT
Rare bird found on seafront
Bald Ibis
Only 220 Bald Ibis's are believed to live in the wild
One of the rarest birds in the world, normally found in Africa, has been found on Blackpool Promenade.

Only 220 bald ibis's are known to survive in the wild, living in protected colonies in Morocco, Syria and South Africa.

Blackpool and Chester Zoos have denied losing the bird, and rescuers fear it may have been illegally imported.

It is thought it may have escaped from captivity during the recent storms which swept Britain over the weekend.

Blackpool
The bird was found on Blackpool Promenade

The bird was found by a family in the seaside resort on Sunday.

It is now being cared for at the Three Owls Bird Sanctuary near Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

Carers have surrounded the bird with mirrors to fool it into thinking it is part of a group.

Nigel Fowler, who helps run the sanctuary, said: "We are publicising the fact that we have got it so that we can get it back to its owner.

"There is a risk, though, that it may have been illegally imported and that could be why nobody is coming forward to claim it."

The bald ibis, whose favourite food is scorpions, are classified as a critically endangered species.

They weigh on average about 1.3kg and are about 80cm in length.

If the bird is not claimed it is likely to be housed in a zoo.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Eleanor Moritz
"There are only a couple of hundred of these birds left in the wild anywhere in the world"

Click here to go to Lancashire
See also:

09 Jul 02 | Science/Nature
22 Oct 01 | Science/Nature
21 Oct 02 | England
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