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.
Photo 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.