A rare duckling duo has been spotted paddling in
their pond for the first time since hatching at Chester Zoo.
The arrival of the two white-winged ducklings has given a boost to a species
listed as endangered in the wild by the International Union for the
Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Chester Zoo is one of just a handful of zoos in Europe currently working with
the Asian duck species and experts fear few as just 250 could now remain as a
result of widespread destruction to their habitats throughout their native
South East Asia.
Research has highlighted that populations are severely dwindling in countries
where they would once have been commonly found and can now only be found in
small pockets alongside river banks in India and Indonesia. In places like Java
they have already vanished altogether and have not been seen for many years in
Thailand and Malaysia.
Chester Zoo’s curator of
birds, 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
“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.
“Our field 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.”
The ducks can be seen inside the zoo's Tropical Realm.
White-wing duck facts
· White-winged ducks were historically widely distributed from
north-eastern India and Bangladesh, through South-East Asia to Java and
· The ducks live in
stagnant or slow-flowing wetlands, within or adjacent to evergreen, deciduous
or swamp forests. They depend on these areas for roosting and nesting, usually
· Chester Zoo is one of
the few institutions in Europe currently working with this Asian duck
· The species is listed by
the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as endangered.
They are threatened due to widespread forest and wetland destruction.