Rare Guam Kingfisher Dies at Smithsonian's National Zoo

A rare bird has died at the Smithsonian's National Zoo.

Zoo officials said in a statement that the Guam kingfisher died Saturday at age of 17 in the zoo's bird house. The bird was one of only 146 members of its species in the entire world, the zoo said.

The kingfisher population in Guam suffered after the brown tree snake was accidentally introduced to the Pacific island shortly after World War II, the Washington Post reported. By the early 1980s, only about 30 remained. The threat of extinction spurred vigorous efforts at conservation.

At present, Guam Kingfishers only exist in captivity.

The zoo says that while the recently deceased bird didn't help produce any chicks, he was "a terrific ambassador for his species."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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