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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 August 2006, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Baby boom for zoo's residents
Rhinoceros Hornbill
The zoo works on a number of animal conservation projects
Chester Zoo is celebrating after successfully breeding a pair of Javan rhinoceros hornbill birds - the first ever to be hatched in Britain.

The tropical chicks are among a number of new arrivals at the zoo following a baby boom among residents this summer.

Other new additions include a Bongo antelope calf, a Californian sea lion pup and a baby red panda.

It is the first time red pandas have been bred at the zoo - home to 7,000 animals - for almost half a century

Special cameras have been installed to allow visitors to follow the hornbills' and pandas' progress before they make their debuts to the outside world.

Sea lion and pup
Chester Zoo has more than 7,000 animals - including rare breeds

Mike Jordan, the zoo's Curator of Birds and Mammals, said: "We have been working with hornbills for many years and this is the first time Javan rhinoceros hornbills have bred in the UK and, quite possibly, the first time in Europe.

"It is very unusual for this species to breed in zoos in the northern hemisphere and equally unusual to have two chicks fledge at the same time - naturally we are delighted."

The zoo supports a number of animal conservation projects throughout the world and is hoping its red panda breeding scheme will help boost the survival of the species - there are fewer than 2,500 red pandas in the wild.

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