Pitter patter of webbed feet
Friday 6 July 2007
Bird keepers at ZSL London Zoo are celebrating the safe delivery of two new feathered recruits. The white-winged wood ducklings were rescued as eggs from their parents’ nests when keepers realised they were overdue.
Using a candler, keepers were able to check the eggs to see if there were baby chicks growing inside.
The chicks were placed in an incubator and then carefully hand-hatched, as our amazing pictures show.
Keepers had an anxious wait for the first few days. The tiny ducklings were not able to walk or feed properly and it was touch and go whether they would survive.
But thanks to the careful care of their keepers, the ducklings went from strength to strength and were soon transferred from their incubator to a larger, off-show enclosure.
Both ducklings are now happily waddling around their enclosure and practising their swimming.
White-winged wood ducks are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Only a few thousand of the birds survive in the wild and their natural habitat, the wetlands and forest of south east Asia, is extremely threatened.
The fluffy pair 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.