Saturday, 7 April 2012

Ducklings signal hope for world’s rarest bird

Madagascar pochard ducklings hatch in captivity


April 2012. The Madagascar pochard - arguably the world's rarest bird - has bred successfully in captivity, building hope that it can be saved from extinction.
18 ducklings
Eighteen precious pochard ducklings are being reared at a specially built centre in Antsohihy, Madagascar, opened last year by Dr Lee Durrell. The birth of the ducklings is a key milestone in the conservation of the species, including an emergency expedition two years ago to take eggs into captivity. It is the ducks from those eggs that have now bred for the first time.
Extinct until 2006
Dr Glyn Young, a conservation biologist with Durrell, has spent much of his life studying the Madagascar pochard. He said: "The ducklings represent an incredible step forward in the fight to save the pochard from extinction. Six years ago, people thought this bird was already extinct and yet the discovery of one small population and now the arrival of these ducklings has led to real hope that the birds can one day flourish again."
The pochard was believed to be extinct until its rediscovery in 2006 on a single small lake, Lake Matsaborimena (or Red Lake), in northern Madagascar. Numbering just 22 birds, the ducks remain extremely vulnerable to extinction from a single event such as pollution or a disease outbreak.

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