If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...
By Nicole Wexler | Director of Development
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.
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.
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo Team
A Diving Duck in the Zoo's Marsh Aviary
A duck monitored by INPA rangers in Hula Reserve
Staff members releasing ducks in the Tsor'a Valley
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