The baer’s pochard a rare species of duck from Asia has been bred at Chester Zoo. It is really lucky that no one poached their eggs as keepers believe more have hatched at Chester Zoo this year than there are in the wild. The zoo has managed to hatch 30 of the rare ducks.
The zoo’s Curator of Birds Andrew Owens explained that “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.”
The international Union for the Conservation Nature (IUCN) class this species as critically endangered. In their home of Siberia and Eastern Asia they are threatened due to hunting as well as their habitat being destroyed. This species used to roam in their tens of thousands across Asia but they may soon vanish entirely.
Chester Zoo is the only Institution within the UK working to conserve the Baer’s poachard. Owens added that “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.”
He also said that “Our very talented bird team have 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.”
Chester hopes to play a vital role in the species survival and Owens spoke of the plans for this, “Hopefully these little ducklings will start to rear their own young next year and, beyond that, a European-wide breeding programme in zoos and bird parks could be what saves the species from extinction.
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo