Norfolk wildlife gardens help to conserve endangered duck

The endangered species Bear's Pochard Aythya Baeri

The endangered species Bear's Pochard Aythya Baeri - Credit: Submitted

A critically endangered species of duck is being conserved by south Norfolk wildlife gardens.

Bear's Pochard Aythya Baeri, named after Estonian naturalist Karl Ernst von Baer, is being supported by Dickleburgh-based Shorelands Wildlife Gardens, which is supporting some of Europe's largest zoos to conserve the critically endangered species.

This duck was formerly widespread among Asian wetlands, but has undergone a catastrophic decline in recent years. The ducks breed in south east Russia and north east China, wintering in China, Vietnam, Japan and India.

The population is roughly estimated as between 150-700 birds, but conservationists believe that as few as 100 birds could remain in the wild.

The gardens has just received three pairs of Bear's Pochard from Chester Zoo to form a new unrelated group. Shorelands will then be exporting birds to zoos in the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland to form new captive breeding populations, with the eventual aim of returning some birds to Hubei Province in China.


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Ben Potterton, owner of Shorelands, will be taking the first group of young birds to Walsrode Bird Park in Germany and Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic later this month, with more birds being sent to Plzen Zoos in the Czech Republic and Wroclaw Zoo in Poland next month.

Mr Potterton said: 'Shorelands is known for its work with endangered wildfowl, holding breeding populations of the endangered Meller's Duck, Madagascar Teal, White-winged Wood Duck, Red-breasted Goose and some of the more obscure and date deficient species such as Hartlaubs and Steamer Ducks.'

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He added unlike some other collections, the gardens donated all of its animals to like-minded responsible institutions, to increase the global populations of some of these endangered species, with the eventual aim of returning them to national parks within the species' natural habitat.

What do you like most about Shorelands Wildlife Gardens? Email dominic.bareham@archant.co.uk.

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