White-naped crane chick makes history at Red River Zoo

On Mother's Day, the Fargo zoo welcomed its first ever white-naped crane chick, adding a new bird to the threatened species

A day-old white-naped crane stands next to its mother Monday, May 15, 2023, at the Red River Zoo in Fargo.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

FARGO โ€” Mother's Day was a momentous occasion for the white-naped cranes at the Red River Zoo.

Parents Stanley and Dumpling had the zooโ€™s first white-naped crane chick.

The chick was born on Sunday, May 14, around midday, said Sally Jacobson, zoo director. A guest noticed the chick and alerted staff of the hatching.

Both the chick and mom are doing really well, Jacobson said. "We are beyond pleased," she said.

Native to northeastern Mongolia, northeastern China and southeastern Russia, white-naped cranes are classified as a red-list species with an estimated population of only 3,700-4,500 mature birds left, according to the zoo.


Red-list species are at high risk for global extinction, which is why this hatching is so important.

"Yesterday was absolutely amazing," Jacobson said.

The Red River Zoo has had white-naped cranes for 25 years, but this is the first time they have produced offspring. In the beginning, zoo staff tried to pair the male, Stanley, with a different mate but the two never bonded. Artificial insemination was also attempted, but not successful.

Stanley, age 28, and his current mate, 9-year-old Dumpling, have bonded well and are both watching over the new chick.

"At this point we're monitoring everything," Jacobson said.

The chick has not yet had a neonatal exam, so zoo workers are not quite sure on its sex. An exam will happen in about a week or so, and after that, the zoo plans to hold a naming contest for the chick.

The female crane, Dumpling, is still sitting on another egg. This might hatch in three to four days. Given the short history of white-naped chicks hatching at the Red River Zoo, they just aren't sure, Jacobson said.

Zoo workers are prepared for another chick's arrival and are trying to be optimistic, Jacobson said.


The Red River Zoo invites the community to stop by and celebrate the new chick. The zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This white-naped crane chick was born on Mother's Day, May 14, 2023. It was the first of its kind born at the Red River Zoo.
Red River Zoo photo

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