TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A "chicken" that a man found in the wild and raised in his home turned out to be a rare and protected pheasant endemic to Taiwan.
Su Chun-hao (蘇俊豪), a resident of Caoling Village in Yunlin County's Gukeng Township, in July spotted a small chick wandering outside his home. Fearing for the chick's safety due a large road nearby, he took it into his domicile to raise it.
Chick as it first appeared. (Su Chun-hao photo)
Su was cited by ETtoday as saying that the chick was "quite cute" and was not afraid of people. He said he bought feed used to raise chickens.
He said the bird eagerly ate the feed and would frequently jump onto his hand to play. However, after a month when the chick became larger, Su decided his home was too small to properly raise the bird.
Bird starting to increase in size. (Su Chun-hao photo)
Knowing that nearby Caoling Elementary School housed a variety of small animals, he took the bird to the school to see if they would like to raise it. However, when one of the teachers saw it, they realized that it was not a chicken but rather a Taiwan blue pheasant (Lophura swinhoii, Swinhoe's Pheasant), which is a protected species.
Su was surprised because although he had seen pheasants in the wild, he had not seen them with their young before. He then consulted an ornithologist, who informed him that members of the public are not allowed to raise protected animals.
Black band stretching from eye among key traits distinguishing the pheasant from chickens. (Su Chun-hao photo)
However, before he can release the bird, the expert said he has to first make sure of its viability in the wild. The expert said that the pheasant should not be released into the wild until its first molt.
Adult Taiwan blue pheasant. (Su Chun-hao photo)