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Zoo Partnership Anticipates Natives Increase

Media Release
1 November 2005

Zoo Partnership Anticipates Natives Increase

Wellington Zoo is again partnering with Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre and Peacock Springs in Christchurch to breed the critically endangered Campbell Island Teal back into abundance, announced Wellington Zoo’s Bird Curator, Geert Van Eyken today.

Due to the risk of disease transfer, only ducklings bred at Department of Conservation (DoC) approved facilities are suitable for release on Campbell Island. All available holding spaces for Teals in captive holding institutions are filled and rather than stopping all breeding, the Sub-Antarctic Teal recovery group, in co-operation with institutions like Wellington Zoo, Pukaha Mount Bruce and Peacock Springs, came up with a new strategy.

“As an institution committed to the conservation of endangered species, Wellington Zoo didn’t want to just stop breeding this species so we joined forces with Mount Bruce. We send our fertile Teal eggs from our pair to them for incubating and hatching,” says Geert.

There is always a risk of contamination in transferring live chicks to breeding areas such as Pukaha Mount Bruce. Transporting fertile eggs reduces this risk and will still help toward increasing species numbers.

Once thought to be extinct on Campbell Island, a small population of Teal was found on nearby Dent Island. A captive breeding program was established and after extensive pest eradication on Campbell Island, over 100 birds were reintroduced on the island with a final release planned for 2006.

In January this year, Wellington Zoo managed to successfully breed these endangered birds and later in the year two more ducklings from a second clutch also hatched.

“We are excited about contributing to the recovery programme for the Teals. Breeding these birds isn’t easy and we want to help in any way possible,” says Geert.

Wellington Zoo’s breeding Teals will remain at the Zoo.

ENDS

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