Rare bird chicks mark milestone at Vic zoo

Eight chicks of one of the rarest animals in the world have taken their first steps at Werribee Open Range Zoo.

The fluffy, golden haired critically endangered plains-wanderer chicks are an Australian native species and their arrival marks a significant milestone in threatened species conservation.

There are believed to be less than 1000 living in the wild.

Werribee Open Range Zoo natives co-ordinator Jacinda Goodwin said the extremely rare chicks were being closely observed and were part of a plan to re-establish a thriving plains-wanderer population.

"We have an insurance population of plains-wanderers at Werribee Open Range Zoo, and we work with other wildlife organisations around Australia to help maintain genetic diversity for the species," Ms Goodwin said.

"Some of these birds are released into the wild as part of ongoing release trials that aim to bolster wild populations."

Werribee Open Range Zoo has successfully bred a total of 36 plains-wanderers since the Zoo's threatened species facility opened in 2017, and it is hoped more will be born during this 2022-23 breeding season.