Pitter patter of webbed feet at ZSL London Zoo
Thursday 11 May 2006
Two Madagascar Teal ducklings are proving to be popular additions to ZSL London Zoo’s African Bird Safari walk-through exhibit.
The ducklings hatched two weeks ago and have wasted no time getting to know their home by waddling around the enclosure after mum and dad.
Weighing only a few grams at the moment, the fluffy ducklings are part of a captive breeding programme that works to conserve the endangered species and will be transferred to other zoos once they reach adulthood.
The Madagascar Teal was first discovered in 1860 but so few were seen that the species was said to be re-discovered in 1969.
The species is currently endangered, primarily because of a declining population and the entire population of fewer than 1,000 birds is now confined to the wetlands of western Madagascar.
An international breeding programme was set up in 1993 on the recommendation of the conservation breeding specialist group of the IUCN.
African Bird Safari is a walk-through exhibit that opened last year (2005) giving visitors to ZSL London Zoo the opportunity to get closer to a number of African birds including the Madagascar Teal, superb starlings and Von der Decken’s hornbills.