I didn’t think that headline from Fish Update could be improved upon for eye-catching oddness.
The Madagascar Pochard Duck is close to extinction with as few as 30 birds living wild in one area. Wetland destruction presumably by humans is the cause. The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust has a programme to save the species by, until they are a more viable population, developing a captive population. They already have 100 birds but I suspect that’s still a long way from a viable population.
The big challenge, however, is how to release the captive-bred ducks back into the wild and this is where we, sometimes a bit wild ourselves, Scots come in. Kames Fish Farming have designed and built a release pen. It’s all very technical so I’ll just quote:
‘Key features of the duck pen included a platform for the birds to preen and rest, ramps to enable access to and from the enclosure, as well as lightweight construction so that it can be easily transported – an important consideration in a country with few roads and no power, transport or lifting equipment in the villages around the release lake. The enclosure for the ducks is made from knotless nylon netting with different mesh sizes to enable the ducks to be easily observed from outside, and also ensure they are secure and minimise the likelihood of predation. To enable the ducks to exit the enclosure, heavy duty zip openings were also included in the design.’
It seems to be working and the prospects for the duck are reasonably good though I can’t help thinking those humans will pose a threat to the returned ducks too at some point in the near future. What would work would be a fund to buy and protect some of the wetlands. Anyone out there fancy starting a crowdfund?
Footnote: The original article was written by a Jenny Hjul. Is that the same Jenny Hjul of the Herald, private school champion and wife of the monstrous Unionist Alan Cochrane of the Daily Torygraph? Has she had an epiphany, dumped those two nasty factors in her life and gone all ecological?
Footnote 2: I though a Madagascar Pochard might look a bit more exotic. I’ve seen better looking ducks in Scotland.