Duck

Ducklings Stand Beak to Beak Against Extinction

White Winged Ducklings-1 (2)With fewer than 250 remaining in the wild, hopes are high that a pair of rare white-winged ducks hatched at the Chester Zoo can boost this endangered species.

White Winged Ducklings-6
White Winged Ducklings-5
White Winged Ducklings-17Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo

The duo can be seen swimming in their exhibit pond, but zoo staff are keeping a close watch on the ducklings. Curator of Birds Andrew Owen said, “Our two new white-winged ducklings are very important birds given that their numbers are extremely low in the wild. Our dedicated bird team will be keeping a very close eye on them to make sure they make it through to adulthood."

White-winged ducks are on the brink of extinction, with their wetland and forest habitats significantly destroyed by human activity.  Only a few populations remain along riverbanks in India and Indonesia.  In some locations, such as Java, Thailand, and Malaysia, white-winged ducks have not been seen for many years.  They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Chester Zoo participates in the European breeding program, which builds an insurance population in zoos should the wild population be lost completely.  In addition, zoos are working in Southeast Asia to preserve habitats, which will benefit this and many other species.


“Three Little Ducks Went out One Day…”

11027969_10152594221787041_5432568177538710850_oDurrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is excited to share the hatching of three important ducklings.

10960387_10152594222052041_4863955178413224487_o

10626398_10152594221677041_3726292194580827217_o

10866111_10152594221957041_5111781752943873373_oPhoto Credits: Floriot Randrianarimangason

These three Madagascar Pochard ducklings are special in several ways. They are considered a 'Lazarus species' (once declared extinct, but thankfully rediscovered), with a wild population of under 30 individuals, literally 'hanging on' in an environment where their young almost never survive.

They are also the first hatchlings to be parent-reared at Durrell's Antsohihy facility. This means that if they survive (ducklings are notoriously delicate), they could go back to wetlands that teams in Madagascar are working with local communities to restore.

The ducklings parents have been carefully selected using genetic information provided by students from Cardiff University who have been contributing valuable research to the all-out attempt (from Durrell, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) and the Malagasy Government) to save the Madagascar Pochard from extinction.

For more information on the project, please see their website: www.durrell.org/wildlife/species-index/madagascar-pochard

 


Raft of Rare Ducklings Hatch at Chester Zoo

BaersPochardChesterZoo_4

A rare, endangered species of Asian duck, known as Baer’s Pochard, has been successfully bred at Chester Zoo in the UK.

BaersPochardChesterZoo_3

BaersPochardChesterZoo_2Photo Credits: Steve Rawlins

Thirty Baer’s Pochard ducklings have hatched at the zoo, and unfortunately, according to estimates, there are not much more than that living in the wild.

The species is currently classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, and the population is steadily decreasing in the wild. Native to eastern Asia, it breeds in southeast Russia and northeast China, migrating in winter to southern China, Vietnam, Japan, and India. It is now absent or occurs in extremely reduced numbers over the majority of its former breeding and wintering grounds and is common nowhere. It is thought that hunting and wetland destruction are the key reasons for its decline. Experts fear just a few individuals are now left, and the species could soon vanish altogether. 

Curator of Birds, Andrew Owen said, “We’re perilously close to losing this species in the wild, and that’s why our recent hatchlings are very, very important, indeed. They’re, without doubt, some of the rarest ducks in the world. Thirty Baer’s Pochards have been bred here this breeding season and whilst it’s good news in the sense that it’s a record for us, rather frighteningly, there may only be similar numbers left in the wild.”

Chester Zoo is one of just a handful of institutions in the world, and the only zoo in the UK, that is working with the highly threatened species and hopes to play a vital role in their long-term survival.

Mr. Owen added, “Our very talented bird team has given all our ducklings a helping hand, rearing them under close watch to make sure they make it through to adulthood. With a species that’s so rare, it’s imperative that we get as many through to that stage as possible. Hopefully these little ducklings will start to rear their own young next year and, beyond that, a European-wide breeding program in zoos and bird parks could be what saves the species from extinction.”


The Owl and the Runner Duck: Best Pals Take a Nap

Duck awake

Friendship comes in many forms, and at times can be forged with the most unlikely of companions. This is often true in the animal world, and was proven this week at Kirkleatham Owl Center in Redcar, North East England. Meet ''Chop-suey'' the baby White-crested Runner Duck and ''Larch'' a tiny baby Long-eared Owl. A very odd couple, but the best of pals! 

The two three-week-old babies met at the center, and are now inseparable. Initially there were  a dozen duck eggs in the Center's incubator, but only one hatched, producing little Chop-suey. Although the chick was content with human company, he was not happy being left alone. Larch the Owl had been by himself there so staff put the two together and they instantly snuggled up and fell asleep!

Duck cu

Duck both asleep

Duck nap
Photo Credit: Kirkleatham Owl Center

They won't be able stay together for much longer due to their differing needs as they develop," said a spokesperson at the Center, "but while they are still very small we are more than happy for them to enjoy their time together."

Long Eared Owls are a very secretive species, but being hand reared Larch is confident around people, especially with best friend Chop-suey at his side. It is hoped that both will take part in the center's flying displays, although probably not together. Larch will be a fast flyer, while ''Chop Suey'' being a runner Duck is more of a ground bird.

Watch as these two settle in for a snooze on the video below:


Rare Ducklings Born at the Louisville Zoo

Although adult Meller's Ducks look very similar to the common Mallard, they are a distinct, and highly endangered species native only to Madagascar. Keepers at the Louisville Zoo were startled to discover two eggs in the Meller's Duck enclosure during a routine cleaning in May. After 26 days in the incubator, two tiny ducklings were born and are doing well.

Baby duck louisville zoo 1

Baby duck louisville zoo 4

Baby duck louisville zoo 2
Photo credits: Kara Bussabarger / Louisville Zoo