Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Four whio ducklings hatch at Pukaha Mount Bruce

Four whio eggs were lifted from a nest recently on the Manganui o te Ao River as part of operation nest egg. The four ducklings will become part of the captive breeding programme to ensure the long-term survival of the species.

After roughly three weeks indoors in a brooder the ducklings will be slowly introduced to an outdoor area with rocks and flowing water similar to the rapids and white water they would normally encounter out in the wild so that they can develop their natural abilities.

Captive Management Ranger at Pukaha Mount Bruce, Raelene Berry say’s “We don’t yet know if they are male or female but are hoping for some females to pair up over the next year or so”

Found only in New Zealand, whio are classified as ‘Nationally Endangered’ because of their unique features. Unlike many other bird species whio cannot be transferred to off shore islands to ensure their viability as they require pristine fast flowing riverine habitat which is generally not found in those environments.

The ongoing survival of whio depends on the work taking place through projects like Kia Wharite for which whio are a focal species.