A released stork has laid at least two eggs in the wild in the country's central region, increasing the prospects of the species' first natural breeding in the country, a research center tasked with restoring the endangered bird said Friday.
The Oriental White Stork Park in Yesan, a town in South Korea's central province of South Chungcheong, said its researchers confirmed the eggs at a nest of female stork Minhwang and male stork Manhwang on Thursday. The two are part of eight storks that the park returned to the wild in September last year.
Minhwang and Manhwang were also spotted taking turns sitting on the eggs and putting the nest in good shape, it said.
Nam Hyung-kyu, a researcher at the park, said the female stork "could lay additional eggs given that storks lay four to five eggs on average." The park expected that the two eggs will hatch as early as mid-May.
If confirmed, it would be the first time since 1973 when the species became extinct in the wild in South Korea that the stork has had natural breeding.
The Yesan municipal government established the park in 2009 as part of its efforts to promote the reintroduction of the bird, designated as national monument No. 199, and released six adult storks and two young ones into the wild last year. It plans to return 10 storks a year to the wild after reorienting them.
Hwang Seon-bong, chief of the Yesan municipal government, was ebullient. "Released storks gave us good news every day. If young storks are born, our country as well as our town should have a happy event," he said. (Yonhap)