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!
Nicole and the Avian Team at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
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.
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.
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