As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 29 November 2019

The little duck that could: Study finds endangered Hawaiian duck endures


Date: November 18, 2019
Source: Colorado State University

The endangered Hawaiian duck, or koloa, the only endemic duck remaining on the main Hawaiian Islands, is threatened with genetic extinction due to interbreeding with feral mallards. This has led to the creation of hybrid forms of the koloa. But new research has found that the genetic diversity of the koloa is high, and conservation efforts on the island of Kauai have been successful.

Caitlin Wells, a research scientist at Colorado State University, conducted the research as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Davis. This study is the culmination of two decades of research spearheaded by scientists from University of California, Davis; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; University of Texas, El Paso; Wright State University; Oregon State University; and the state of Hawaii's Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

The results from the study offer hope for existing conservation efforts with the koloa and other endangered birds around the world.

"Persistence of an endangered native duck, feral mallards, and multiple hybrid swarms across the main Hawaiian Islands," will be published Nov. 18 in Molecular Ecology, and Wells is the lead author.

A charismatic duck, located primarily on Kauai

Wells described the koloa as a "petite, buffy brown and charismatic duck," similar to a female mallard.

"The fact that the koloa on Kauai are pure and have a lot of genetic variation are two really positive things that came out of this study," said Wells.

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