The Madagascar pochard has been ubiquitous in UK media over the last two days because its not quite so ubiquitous in the wild and because an international team, which includes WWT, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, The Peregrine Fund and the Government of Madagascar is being led by the Gloucestershire-based WWT.
Central to the plan have been floating pens from ‘Scottish salmon farms.’ No further detail on the pens is given and we are left to think they were just imaginatively sourced by the WWT.
As I watched the BBC extended report from Gloucestershire, I thought to myself ‘pochard, why does that ring a bell?’ and did a quick search of my blog. From September 2017, I found:
‘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 [not required for most varieties of salmon], ramps to enable access to and from the enclosure [again not required for most salmon], 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 [ooh that will cost ye!], and also ensure they are secure and minimise the likelihood of predation. To enable the ducks to exit the enclosure, heavy duty zip openings [can ducks open zips?] were also included in the design.’’
Quack if you think I’m being unfair to the Gloucester-based WWT, or a tad paranoid, but why did we not hear of the modifications to the pens, made in Scotland? Have the pens got Union Jack stickers on them?
Footnote: Can we trust the Peregrine Fund to be involved in the preservation of ducks?