by Edward Carver on 6 February 2020
12 Madagascar pochard (Aythya innotata) ducklings were born in the wild in November.
Conservationists had introduced 21 young adult pochards to Lake Sofia in northern Madagascar in December 2018, but did not expect them to reproduce so quickly.
The pochard was once common in Madagascar’s highlands, but the population declined rapidly in the mid-20th century. Only a single pochard was spotted from 1970 until 2006.
The new crop of ducklings marks a victory for conservation groups that have been working to save the species since then. However, the pochard’s future remains precarious due in part to a lack of food, with its total population measurable in the dozens.
One of the world’s rarest birds, once thought to be extinct, successfully bred in the wild late last year. The crop of ducklings marks a victory for conservation groups that have been working for more than a decade to save the species.
In November, conservationists celebrated the appearance of 12 Madagascar pochard (Aythya innotata) ducklings on Lake Sofia in northern Madagascar. They had introduced a set of young adult pochards there in December 2018 but did not expect them to reproduce so quickly. Diving ducks normally don’t breed until they are 2 years old.
“We were very surprised and excited to have chicks just one year after introducing the ducks,” Felix Razafindrajao, a wetlands manager for Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, a group based on Jersey in the British Isles, told Mongabay. In addition to the 12 ducklings, which came in two broods, there are also eight pochard eggs in the marshes that should hatch in the next few weeks, he said.