Environment

From Scotland to Madagascar with love: safe havens for world’s rarest duck

Two floating cages from Scottish salmon farms happen to be reconstructed as a safe and secure haven for that world’s rarest duck, that’s driven for the brink of extinction by fish farming.

Twenty-one Madagascar pochards, an unobtrusive brown duck that for Fifteen years was regarded extinct, happen to be released onto a lake in northern Madagascar.

The captive-bred ducks spent per week within the custom-made aviaries on Lake Sofia to encourage them to become familiar with their new surroundings and produce it their own home. The ducks, which dive to locate food, are also taught to feed from submerged, floating feeding stations that only they’re able to access.

The pioneering reintroduction through the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Peregrine Fund and also the Madagascan government comes 12 years following the apparently extinct species was rediscovered out of the blue.

Lily-Arison Rene de Roland, the area director in the Peregrine Fund, ran the conservation of one other rare bird, the Madagascar harrier, whilst spotted the duck over a remote crater lake an excellent source of the mountains. Tropical ducks are much less expensive colourful than their northern counterparts because unpredictable weather means correctly capable of breed all year long so the males tend not to acquire colourful feathers for annual mating rituals.

Ornithologists soon realised which the last surviving 25 approximately ducks were breeding successfully, however their ducklings were never reaching maturity for the reason that lake was too deep and cold for any young birds to survive to get food.

In 2009, Durrell, WWT and partners took one-day-old chicks from the lake to rear in captivity in the nearby breeding centre. The captive population is painstakingly increased to 114 live birds today.

According to Glyn Young, Durrell’s head of birds, the pochard declined towards brink of extinction because non-native species of fish were made aware of Madagascar wetlands for fish farming. “It seems to be though introduced fish across Madagascar are largely responsible for the decline on the duck,” he was quoted saying.

Carp released in to the wetlands stirred increase the water so that the diving ducks was not able to find food so easily, and herbivorous fish just like tilapia stripped crucial vegetation from the lakes.

In 2017, Scottish salmon farming cages were become the earth’s first floating pre-release aviaries and shipped on the UK to Madagascar, where we were looking at assembled on Lake Sofia this spring. The very first ducklings were used shore-based aviaries in October, and moved into your floating aviaries at the begining of December. Automobile swimming freely over the lake.

It is hoped which the floating aviary and feeding stations will let the ducks to be able to on Lake Sofia and breed. Conservationists are already accommodating ensure that the habitat is more suitable than other lakes badly degraded by fish farming.

Conservationists said the support of the neighborhood living within the lake C who depend on it for fish C were being important the project.

WWT’s head of conservation breeding, Nigel Jarrett, said: “Working with local neighborhoods to solve the concerns who were driving this bird to extinction continues to be vital to giving the pochard the opportunity of survival.

“If we can easily makes this work, it’ll offer a powerful example not only of ways to save lots of the planet’s most threatened species, wait, how communities can manage an ecosystem to profit people and wildlife, especially in parts of significant poverty.”

Young added: “The restoration programme at Lake Sofia will encourage others in Madagascar to will no longer check out the island’s wetlands as lost causes. They could all over again be centres of biodiversity while continuing to support communities of folks that in addition go to rely upon them.”

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