Prague, Dec 30 (CTK) – The Prague zoo has acquired a pair of Javan green magpies, one of the world´s rarest and most endangered birds, which it owes to its own bird breeding successes and to its support for the Cikananga wildlife center in Java, the zoo´s spokeswoman Jana Mysliveckova told CTK on Wednesday.

The Prague pair is one of six pairs the Cikananga center has sent to Europe.

“Last week, the British media reported with delight that 12 Javan green magpies have been acquired by Europe from the Cikananga wildlife rescue and breeding centre. Five pairs are in the Chester zoo (Britain) and one has arrived to the Prague zoo via Germany,” the zoo´s director Miroslav Bobek said.

He said Prague has acquired the rare birds thanks to the successes of Antonin Vaidl, its expert in exotic bird breeding.

In addition, the zoo has been supporting the Cikananga centre since 2010, by sending money not only for the construction of aviaries, but also for bird breeding.

“A Prague zoo expert worked in the center from October 2010 to March 2011. He helped local breeders improve their skills in passerine bird breeding,” Vaidl said.

Javan green magpies are immensely rare. Experts estimated their number in the wild at 250 at the most. The species is endangered by the devastation of its habitats by humans and also the local fashion to keep the birds in cages.

A total of 29 Javan green magpies are in captivity within an international breeding programme.