National treasure whopper swans gave birth to a baby. Everland announced Tuesday that male swan Nalgae and female Nakdong gave birth to Mio on May 28. It is the first time that a swan couple successfully hatched an egg at the Everland zoo in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province.
Whopper swans are endangered and classified to Anseriformes. Its body length is some 1.5 meters and wings are 2.4 meters long when expanded. Both male and female are snow white, which is why they are called swans. They are indigenous to the tundra from Iceland to Siberia, Russia. They mate in early spring, lay eggs in April or May, incubate eggs for some 40 days before babies hatch out of eggs.
Nalgae and Nakdong had gunshot wounds in their wings and rescued by the Korean Association for Bird Protection in Paldal-ri, Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province in 1996 before they were transferred to Everland. They survived but lost a part of their wings and could not fly again.
The zoo provided a habitat to the couple so that they could adapt to the new environment and live healthily. They had not been able to breed for the past 24 years. The zoo created a nature-like environment and made a nest with fallen leaves and silver grass from a nearby hillock in winter.
The couple became parents in an old age. Mio is about the size of a fist and grey-brown feathered but will have white feather in five or six months. “Nakdong is keeping Mio warm and Nalgae is vigilant to keep his family safe even though he is disabled,” said zookeeper Lee Ji-yeon.