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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Pūkaha ducklings helping species recovery

Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre staff are celebrating the arrival of five newly hatched pāteke [brown teal] ducklings in the sanctuary.

For the next six weeks, the ducklings will be monitored in the pāteke breeding aviaries, which are set up to mimic natural ponds with surrounding dense grassy areas.

The pāteke breeding aviaries are out of the public eye, so the birds have the space and comfort they need to raise offspring.

According to the Department of Conservation [DoC], pāteke were once widespread throughout New Zealand but are now rare, although numbers have been slowly increasing, thanks to considerable conservation efforts.

Ranger Tara Swan said that Pūkaha works with DoC’s Brown Teal Recovery Programme, and the wildlife centre’s pāteke pairs had raised 36 offspring this season so far.

“They’re doing really well with captive breeding,” Swan said.

“They can breed all year round, so we’ve got ample opportunities to breed a few more clutches yet, especially if the weather stays like this.”

Swan said that the new chicks will stay at Pūkaha for six weeks before being relocated to a conservation facility in Christchurch to prepare them for release into the wild.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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