Bring Brack Israel's Diving Ducks

 
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An egg being incubated in the breeding center
An egg being incubated in the breeding center

Hello Diving Duck supporters!

Since we last reported to you, our breeding core of Diving Ducks here at the Zoo has produced no less than 15 eggs! To ensure optimum chances for breeding success, all 15 eggs are being incubated in our breeding center.

In addition, to ensure appropriate genetic diversity within our breeding core, we recently welcomed a male-female pair of ducks from the United Kingdom.

If all goes well – as we hope it will – we plan to release the hatched chicks into the Hula Valley wetlands habitat in the Fall of this year. So, stay tuned for more news on that in our next report.  

Thank you all so much for your continued support of our conservation efforts for this species. Because Diving Ducks are migratory, even a small local conservation program can result in a larger global impact!

Warm Regards,

Nicole and the Avian Team at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo

A duck from our breeding core in the Marsh Aviary
A duck from our breeding core in the Marsh Aviary
Diving Ducks are part of wetlands biodiversity
Diving Ducks are part of wetlands biodiversity

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Our local community participating in our efforts
Our local community participating in our efforts

Hello Diving Duck supporters!

At the beginning of 2015, it’s fitting to look back at our achievements since the start of this important conservation program:

  • 32 Diving Ducks were released into the wild in 2013
  • 26 individuals were released into the wild in 2014
  • 33 ducklings hatched at our incubation center in 2014
  • Ducks were released in both the north and south of Israel (in the Hula Valley, Enot Gibbeton and Tsora Valley nature reserves)

As we pointed out previously, breeding and reintroducing the species to the wild must be done in tandem with habitat conservation and community education. This is why we make a point of involving our community as much as possible when we release individuals into the wild. We know that nothing can beat the educational and emotional impact of seeing these beautiful birds fly to freedom in their natural habitat. We recently did this again when releasing some ducks at the Enot Gibbeton Nature Reserve and the response from the public was phenomenal.

Thank you all so much for helping us to inspire our community to protect species and habitats. The impact of these efforts cannot be overstated especially as these local efforts affect the status of a migratory species which is vulnerable across its entire range – a seemingly small local conservation program can end up having a large global impact.

Warm Regards,

Nicole and the Team at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo

Enjoying doing their part for this program
Enjoying doing their part for this program
Swimming to freedom at the Enot Gibbeton Reserve
Swimming to freedom at the Enot Gibbeton Reserve

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A tagged Diving Duck ready for release
A tagged Diving Duck ready for release

Following on this year’s successful release of 32 Diving Ducks into the wild in Israel, our Avian Team at the Zoo is now in the midst of grooming 26 more hatchlings who have reached maturity to be released into the wild:

  • The Israel Nature and Parks Authority has granted formal permission for us to release individuals in the Gibeton Nature Reserve near Rehovot and so 13 ducks will be released there over the coming months. Stay tuned for an update on this release.
  • 13 Diving Ducks will also be released into the Hula Valley Nature Reserve – a swathe of wetlands in the north of Israel that serves as a haven for millions of migrating birds every year. We have received favorable reports of the ducks already released in this area from Israel Nature and Parks Authority rangers and so we are very optimistic about the second release.

The remaining breeding core reside in our Marsh Aviary Exhibit and we are hopeful that they will continue to produce more adorable ducklings so that we can continue to bring these beautiful and important birds back to Israel’s aquatic habitats.

Did you know that our Diving Ducks are tagged using a special method developed in Europe? The tags are attached to the bills rather than to the feet to enable monitoring of individuals from afar because otherwise the ducks’ legs are not visible while swimming in the water. This tagging method does not hurt the duck nor does it interfere with feeding, breathing or any other bodily function.

Thank you all so much for being a part of this project’s success. We hope to bring you more good news in our next report.

Warm Regards,

Nicole and the Team at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo

Tagging the ducks using a special protocol
Tagging the ducks using a special protocol
The Enot Gibeton Nature Reserve
The Enot Gibeton Nature Reserve
These ducklings are now all grown up!
These ducklings are now all grown up!

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C
C'mon guys, we're going back to nature!

…then it may be an Israeli Diving Duck!

Following on this year’s successful release of no less than 32 Diving Ducks into the wild in Israel, our Avian Team at the Zoo continues to work hard in caring for our breeding core of approximately 30 individuals. Most reside in our beautiful Marsh Aviary Exhibit and any eggs that are laid are immediately taken to the breeding center for incubation in order to ensure the best possible chances for successful hatching.

Breeding and reintroducing the species to the wild is one aspect of the conservation program. There are two other very important aspects:  habitat conservation and community education.

Since we last updated you, the Biblical Zoo has continued to make outreach efforts to educate visitors and the community at large about this species and its importance to the local ecosystem; as well as the importance of wetland habitats to the global ecosystem. These efforts have included:

  • Publishing information about the program on our website, on zoo signage and in our print and online newsletters and social media.
  • Training zoo guides to impart information about the program to visitors by means of guided tours, exhibit feedings and presentations.
  • Partnering with the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums to expand the reach of our education efforts.

Thank you all so much for being a part of this project’s success. We hope to bring you more good news in our next report.

Warm Regards,

The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo Team

Ducklings hatching in our breeding center
Ducklings hatching in our breeding center
A released duck swims free
A released duck swims free

Links:

35 adorable ducklings have hatched at the Zoo!
35 adorable ducklings have hatched at the Zoo!

Great news – we’ve had a whole lot of success this year with the Diving Duck conservation program:

  • 35 ducklings have hatched so far this year in the National Egg Incubation Center situated right here at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo!
  • As part of the pilot release program, 9 ducks were released into the Zoo’s central lake – an open air body of water from where the ducks can fly away if they wish. Unsurprisingly, they chose to stay (who wouldn’t, it’s awesome here at the Zoo!) and are still keeping our cormorants, swans, mallards, pelicans and cranes company.
  • 17 Diving Ducks have been released into the Hula Valley Nature Reserve – a swathe of wetlands in the north of Israel that serves as a haven for millions of migrating birds every year. Israel Nature and Parks Authority rangers have reported back to us on sightings and they all appear to be doing very well.
  • Closer to Jerusalem, 6 ducks have been released in the Tsor’a Valley.

That’s 32 Diving Ducks returned to the wild in 2014 - we’re simply wild with excitement!

The remaining breeding core reside in our Marsh Aviary Exhibit and we are hopeful that they will continue to produce more adorable ducklings so that we can continue to bring these beautiful and important birds back to Israel’s aquatic habitats.

Thank you all so much for being a part of this project’s success. A significant part of that success will belong to people like you, who believed in this cause from the beginning.

Warm Regards,

The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo Team

A Diving Duck in the Zoo
A Diving Duck in the Zoo's Marsh Aviary
A duck monitored by INPA rangers in Hula Reserve
A duck monitored by INPA rangers in Hula Reserve
Staff members releasing ducks in the Tsor
Staff members releasing ducks in the Tsor'a Valley
The Tsor
The Tsor'a Valley
Diving Ducks flying to freedom in Tsor
Diving Ducks flying to freedom in Tsor'a Valley

Links:

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Map of Bring Brack Israel's Diving Ducks