An ‘incredibly rare’ Shetland gosling has been born at a wildlife centre in West Lothian.
The fluffball was born at Almond Valley Heritage Centre, where it is being hand reared by staff.
It was photographed aged three-days-old.
The centre currently has two breeding pairs, with the females normally producing eight to ten eggs.
But this year one of the mums only had two eggs with just one hatching on May 16 – making it even more valuable to the conservation of the breed, according to centre chiefs.
Shetland geese are listed as a priority breed by the Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST).
The bird is being cared for by staff – in the hope its mum will be able to nest again this year and produce more eggs – and was put in with some ducklings for company.
Farm manager Craig Holmes, 33, said: “Shetland geese are incredibly rare.
“We have two breeding pairs, with each female normally having between eight and ten eggs, but this year one of the birds only had two eggs.
“We would normally take the eggs off the female to artificially incubate them as each egg is so valuable for conservation, but as she only had two we left her to sit on them.
“Only one hatched so we put the gosling in with some ducklings that had also just hatched to keep it company.
“We are hopeful the female will nest again this year, which is also why we took the baby away, as if mum had reared the gosling she might not have nested again.
“We are hand rearing it, but it doesn’t take much work, goslings are pretty low maintenance.
“It is important for us to boost their numbers as they are so rare. They are on the RBST’s priority list, which is the highest bracket.”
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