A duck that was believed to have been extinct for the past 15 years was actually brought back from the brink and then, it was given a brand new home in Madagascar, at a remote lake.
The Madagascan pochard was believed to be extinct, but about 21 of them spent an entire week in one of the world's first floating aviaries, located on Lake Sofia, in the northern parts of Madagascar. This is a new, pioneering approach, which is going to allow the birds to get used to the new surroundings. This approach also increases the chances that the birds would still remain at the same location after they were released back into nature. And in December, they were finally released, quickly adapting to the lake, to the prospects of flying as well as diving. These birds also associated well with the other wild ducks in the area.
The Government of Madagascar, WWT, The Peregrine Fund as well as the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust have spent a lot of time laying out the foundation which was required in order to be able to reintroduce these ducks back into nature and their habitat. They have also been closely working with the local communities which are located around the lake and rely on Lake Sofia for fish, plants as well as water.
The conservationists have been planning the bird's releases very meticulously, ever since a small group of ducks was discovered back in 2006. They faced a large number of logistical hurdles, which led them to have to think outside of the box consistently. And all of their hard work has finally paid off!
The ducks spend most of their time on the water, and they also feed underwater. These were the reasons why the groups planned to convert some Scottish salmon-farming cages into one of the world's first floating aviary. And after some very successful trials back in 2017, these aviaries were shipped from the United Kingdom to Madagascar, and they were assembled on the lake last summer. The ducklings hatched in October and were transported to the lake at the beginning of December, just before they learned how to fly.