Critically Endangered Madagascar pochard population has quadrupled28/03/2013 14:53:45 Population has reached 80 birds
March 2013. The world's population of the Madagascar pochard has almost quadrupled thanks to the conservation efforts of Durrell and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT). This phenomenal success story will help to secure the population of this Critically Endangered duck.
20 pochards reared this season
Building and running a breeding centre for this species in a rural town in Madagascar is a real challenge for the field teams. Clean water and electricity supplies in the area are unpredictable but thanks to contingency measures such as water storage tanks and generators; coupled with the hard work and commitment of the team, many of the everyday practical issues surrounding the project have been overcome.
Importantly during this, the second breeding season, the number of enclosures at the centre was increased meaning that staff could pair up specific single males and females, thus providing vital information on genetic management for the species.
Commenting on the breeding success Glyn Young, Conservation Biologist at Durrell, said "This latest batch of healthy ducklings provides us with another step forward in saving the pochard from extinction. Genetic management allows us to make the best use of a limited number of wild birds and to ensure the maximum health of the vital conservation population necessary for the survival of this duck."
Rediscovered in 2006
Peter Cranswick, Head of Species Recovery at WWT said, "The 58 Madagascar pochards in the captive breeding centre provide a safety net for the population if the tiny wild population were to go extinct. We are now conducting detailed research in Madagascar to determine the species' critical needs and to identify possible sites for future reintroductions"
Developments and enhancements are now underway at the Antsohihy centre in preparation for the next breeding season for the captive ducks.