OC wildlife center opening new facility for endangered snowy plover

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach is celebrating the opening of a new facility dedicated to saving the snowy plover, an endangered species.

The West Coast population of snowy plovers remains a "species of special concern," according to the state of California.

The birds have lost much of their habitat due to human development and disturbance, and abandoned chicks struggle to survive.

"Endangered birds, and their population is so slow, there's only 2,300 of them breeding in the whole population of Washington to Baja," said Cheryl Eggers, the shorebird species specialist at the center.

The care center now has a facility designed ot help snowy plovers that are abandoned.

New tools like an incubator and an outdoor aviary help care for the birds until they can be released into the wild.

"Love to be able to do this for the snowy plover again, to build them what we needed in order to be able to take the abandoned eggs in and rear up the animal," said John Villa, from the Huntington Beach Wildlands Conservancy.

Funds for the new facility came from a settlement between Orange County Coastkeeper and Air Industries.

In addition to cleaning up its stormwater pollution, the facility agreed to fund a supplemental environmental project - a restoration program that provides environmental benefits related to its original violations.

Six snowy plover eggs are scheduled to hatch in the next week, adding six new birds to the struggling population.

"The new equipment allowed us to have 100 percent success with our hatching of viable eggs," said Eggers.
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