A white-winged duckling duo has been hatched at Chester Zoo. They add to the population of their incredibly rare species which is thought to number just 250 in the wild.
Curator of Birds for Chester Zoo, 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.”
Chester Zoo is one of the few zoos in Europe which is working to breed this species which the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists as endangered. This decline has occurred as a result of widespread habitat destruction in South East Asia.
“This species of duck is on the edge of extinction and these new ducklings will contribute to the European breeding programme, ensuring that zoos have an insurance population if these birds are lost completely in the wild,” added Owens.
Currently these ducks are found in small pockets of India and Indonesia. They have already vanished from the island of Java along with not having been seen for years in Thailand and Malaysia.
They live in stagnant or slow-flowing wetlands that sit within evergreen, deciduous or swamp forests.
Owens explained that Chester’s, “programmes team is also working very hard over in South East Asia to try and preserve the areas in which this, and many other bird species, can be found so that they all have a better chance of survival.”
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo