Madagascar Pochard (Aythya innotata)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 1025976
The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) is a leading UK conservation organization saving wetlands for wildlife and people across the world. We are working in partnership with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, The Peregrine Fund, Asity Madagascar and the Madagascar Government to save the Madagascar pochard from extinction.
Thought extinct until its chance rediscovery in 2006, the Madagascar pochard is the rarest duck (and possibly the rarest bird) in the world, with a tiny population of around 20 birds hanging on in the wild at a single location, Bemanevika lake. The causes of its decline are thought to be hunting, fishing, habitat loss and human disturbance.
The project's activities are summarised below:
1. In 2009, to avert the imminent risk of extinction, we took three clutches of eggs from Bemanevika with the consent of local villagers. The eggs were hatched in incubators and 21 ducklings were successfully reared to adulthood in temporary accommodation by expert WWT and Durrell aviculturists.
2. We are building a conservation-breeding centre for these birds, and plan to take more clutches from the wild in 2012. These birds will be the founder population for a conservation-breeding programme that will produce hundreds of pochards for release into the wild.
3. We have initiated a research programme to study the species' ecology, to identify threats and how to mitigate them, and to identify potential release sites.
4. Release sites will be chosen based on their suitability for the pochard, benefits for other threatened species, and the provision of ecosystem services (clean water, flood control, harvested wetland resources etc) for local communities. We will form partnerships with local communities to develop management/restoration plans that maximise benefits to local people.
5. The project's engagement programme works with local communities, schools and local authorities to increase awareness of the pochard and the threats it faces, and to secure formal protection for the remaining site.
Project 1025976 location - Madagascar, Africa