SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The Western Snowy Plover is about a six-inch bird that lives in the sands along California’s Central Coast. They’re a white and brown bird that eats bugs along the ocean and nests in the sands. Snowy Plover conservationists said their numbers are threatened due to human activity and rising tides.
Monday morning, the Santa Barbara Zoo, in partnership with the Coal Oil Point Reserve, University of California Santa Barbara and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, released nine Western Snowy Plover chicks at the Coal Oil Point Reserve. Parts of the beach at the reserve are reserved for the plovers.
Zookeepers said if Fish and Wildlife officers find threatened eggs they bring them to the Santa Barbara Zoo. At the zoo, zookeepers look after the eggs, then prepare the chicks to return to the wild. So far more than 70 chicks have been released back into the wild.
The director of Santa Barbara’s Coal Oil Point Reserve, Cristina Sandoval, said the reserve is celebrating its 20th year. And the goal of the reserve is to study the animals, like the Snowy Plover, to learn how to protect them while allowing people to coexist.