BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo Celebrates Life of Record-Breaking Stork

May 11 2017

BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo has in its animal collection a male Saddle-Billed Stork, named William, who is the oldest known Saddle-Billed Stork on the planet. The Zoo hosted a “Celebration of Life” for Willliam at his exhibit on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 10:30 am. 

The stork’s estimated hatch date is listed as 12/01/1969 – 2/1/1970 on formal animal records. He came to BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo in August of 1989. His longevity is a demonstration of the proper care and treatment given by the veterinary and keeper staff at the Zoo.

The typical lifespan for a Saddle-Billed Stork in human care averages around 30 years. Often, animals live shorter lives in the wild due to predators, disease, hunting, and more. Saddle-Billed Storks are large wading birds who typically reside in Africa.

William is on exhibit with a 5-year old, female Saddle-billed Stork named Sooki. You can distinguish them by their eyes. Females have yellow irises, while males have brown ones. As well, Saddle-billed Storks do not vocalize, as they do not have the muscle needed in order to vibrate their vocal chords. They communicate by simply clacking their bills together.