Seven Baer’s Pochard ducklings, one of the world’s rarest ducks, have hatched in the nursery at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre.
In 2012 the world’s conservation authority, the IUCN, classified the bird as “Critically Endangered”, meaning it is just one step away from extinction, with fewer than 1,000 in the wild, making it rarer than the giant panda.
Recently it was announced that a wild pair of Baer’s Pochard had successfully bred at Hengshui Hu National Nature Reserve in China, the most important site for the bird. It’s the only confirmed report from anywhere in the world this year of successful breeding by this Critically Endangered duck.
Steve Dilworth, grounds warden, said: “Breeding Baer’s Pochard’s is a great achievement for the centre as it is really important to maintain a healthy stock of these birds in captivity in the event of numbers further declining in the wild. This is the second time we have bred these birds and they are doing really well in the nursery.”
The duckling nursery will be open every weekend until Sunday 15 July at Martin Mere, once the pochards get a bit bigger they will be on display in the nursery for visitors to come and see one of the world’s rarest ducks.
In March this year, experts from ten countries visited Hengshui Hu to plan further conservation measures to help the Baer’s pochard. It was at this meeting that Hengshui Hu was nominated as the “Home of Baer’s Pochard” and as a direct result the local government, along with the nature reserve and the local university, declared the key part of the lake as a fully protected zone during the breeding season.
WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9.30am to 6pm and parking is free of charge. Situated off the A59, it is signposted from the M61, M58 and M6. The Centre is also accessible via the Southport to Manchester and the Liverpool to Preston line by train from Burscough Rail Stations. http://www.wwt.org.uk/martinmere/