Reintroduction of Ferruginous Ducks Into the Wild

Biggest reintroduction campaign in the history of Zoo Berlin!

  • [Translate to English:] ausgewilderte Moorente aus dem Zoo Berlin

Quacking and cackling coming from the many ponds of the Zoo. Waddling and swimming between the common pochards and red-breasted geese, we see a few small-statured, chestnut brown ducks – the highly endangered ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca).

The smallest of all the European diving ducks has been extinct in their original breeding areas in Central Europe since the 80s. Now the little ducks with the striking light blue eyes are to be reintroduced back into the wild at Lake Steinhude under the guidance of NABU Niedersachsen.
11 August saw the start of arguably the biggest reintroduction campaign in the history of Zoo Berlin – 43 young ducks from the Zoo were released to the Sachsenhagen wild and species conservation station. "The project has been in existence for several years now and has already achieved quite a lot of success, we have even observed some chicks hatch in the wild", explains Dr. Tobias Rahde, who will assist in the re-introduction programme of the ducks on the part of Zoo Berlin.

A large group of ferruginous ducks has been living in the ponds of the Zoo for quite some time – there was an especially large offspring this year. The contribution of the Zoologischer Garten Berlin is therefore the largest undertaken by a zoological garden thus far with a donation of 43 young ducklings. In total, over 260 ferruginous ducks were allowed to move to Lake Steinhude. Dr. Florian Brandes, head of the Sachsenhagen wild animal station, documented the first few moments of this reintroduction programme: "The young ferruginous ducks took to their first rounds and started familiarizing themselves with their new home." He will now regularly report back to the Zoo to inform how the newly wild ferruginous ducks are getting along at Lake Steinhude.

If the remaining 60 ferruginous ducks continue to successfully breed – Zoo Berlin will once again participate in the reintroduction campaign next year.
The role of zoological gardens nowadays extends to much more than just recreation: Zoo Berlin now plays an important role in the areas of species conservation, education and research. Well-managed and internationally acclaimed breeding programmes of endangered species can make a significant contribution to species conservation.

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