Advertisement Picture






Advertisement Picture


Birdwatch News Archive


Male Madagascar Pochard in the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's (WWT) captive breeding programme. Photo courtesy of WWT (www.wwt.org.uk).
Male Madagascar Pochard in the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's (WWT) captive breeding programme. Photo courtesy of WWT (www.wwt.org.uk).Enlarge image

Madagascar Pochard in need of a new home

Birdwatch news team
Posted on: 26 Aug 2014

Click here to view video footage of the Madagascar Pochard and interviews with the research team.


The first-ever study of the world’s rarest duck, the Madagascar Pochard, has shown that 96 per cent of the species’ ducklings die before fledging, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) revealed today. The research concludes that the last remaining population of this Critically Endangered duck cannot expand without outside help.

The only known wild population is restricted to one wetland in north-east Madagascar – a complex of lakes near Bemanevika. Just 25 mature individuals were counted there in 2008, though BirdLife International estimates the total population as 20-49, as a few birds may persist elsewhere.

The study, published in Bird Conservation International, found that mortality actually increases as the chicks get older, peaking when they are between two and three weeks old. The researchers concluded that most chicks slowly starve to death once they’re old enough to dive for food, because the water is too deep for them.

WWT Senior Research Officer Dr Andrew Bamford, who led the study, said: “The last refuge of the Madagascar Pochard is one of the last unspoilt wetlands in the country, but it’s simply not suited to its needs. Something similar happened in the UK when the lowland Red Kite became confined to upland Wales.

“For the species to survive, we need to start another population in a large, shallow wetland. In 2009 we started a conservation breeding programme and now have 54 pochards in captivity. We’ve found wetlands nearby that have potential but they need restoring, so we’re asking the community there if we can work with them to improve the wetlands for their benefit and the pochards at the same time.”

Story continues after the photo.
 

Madagascar Pochard chick
The first chick from the captive breeding programme. Photo by Idris Bhatti (www.wwt.org.uk).

 

As part of the Saving the Madagascar Pochard project, the WWT has identified Lake Sofia in north-west Madagascar as a potential new site for the species. However, the lives of more than 6,000 people depend on fishing and farming around Lake Sofia. To restore the wetland for the pochard, the project must first address the fragile balance between the needs of wetlands, wildlife and people, the WWT said.

Saving the Madagascar Pochard is a major international collaboration between Malagasy and international organisations to restore the species and a flagship for the recovery of Madagascar’s highly threatened wetland ecosystems. The partners are Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Peregrine Fund, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Asity Madagascar and the government of Madagascar.
 

Madagascar Pochard research team at work
The Madagascar Pochard research team at work. Photo courtesy of Wildfowl and
Wetlands Trust (www.wwt.org.uk).



Your Comments

Tell us what you think...

You must be logged in to leave a comment. You can log in here.
If you don't have a user account please register.

Other News

New project brings hope to Scottish waders

Posted: 27 Mar 2017
Led by RSPB Scotland, the Peesie Project aims to conserve and enhance a network of important wetland areas and adjacent farmland to provide homes for breeding waders.

Read more…


Argentina approves measures to save seabirds

Posted: 26 Mar 2017
The use of measures to prevent seabird by-catch deaths has just been approved by the Argentinean government, a decision that will save the lives of thousands of seabirds.

Read more…


New issue of Birdwatch on sale today!

Posted: 24 Mar 2017
Learn to identify tricky leaf warblers and take our spring challenge in the new issue of Birdwatch, in the shops now!

Read more…


Night Parrot rediscovered by birders in Western Australia

Posted: 23 Mar 2017
Four Australian birders have documented the first verified sighting of Night Parrot in Western Australia in over 100 years.

Read more…


New species concept edges closer to helping understand what makes birds different

Posted: 22 Mar 2017
Defined by the amount by which the DNA of internal cell parts is co-adapted, the new species concept is helping to explain why mitochondrial and nuclear genetics are sometimes at odds.

Read more…


  2 3 4 >

Back to News Listing