Blue duck numbers get a boost in Waikanae

By David Haxton

A pair of blue ducks at Nga Manu Nature Reserve.
A pair of blue ducks at Nga Manu Nature Reserve.

A young male and female blue duck from Nga Manu Nature Reserve, in Waikanae, part of an endangered species throughout the country, have had their first clutch of eggs.

The pair of blue duck, also called whio, originally from Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, came to Nga Manu in April when they were about 16 months old.

The aim was for the pair to be advocacy display birds, where people could get close and learn more about the species, as well as a breeding pair where their offspring could help boost the numbers of the critically endangered species.

Reserve staff and volunteers were delighted when the female blue duck laid six eggs.

One of the eggs was infertile but the rest were kept in a climate controlled environment.

Three of the eggs have hatched into ducklings but unfortunately the other two didn't survive.

The ducklings were put into a small warm enclosure with a group of mallard ducklings to keep them calm.

When they're about six weeks old the blue ducklings will go onto another enclosure, where they will be introduced to the outdoors, before being taken to a hardening-up facility in Turangi and then released into the wild.

Helping boost blue duck numbers was an important conservation effort for Nga Manu to be involved in especially as there are fewer than 3000 of the species remaining.

And the numbers could be increased again soon as the female blue duck at Nga Manu has built a natural nest and laid some eggs.

A blue duckling born at Nga Manu Nature Reserve.
A blue duckling born at Nga Manu Nature Reserve.

Meanwhile the Kapiti Fly Fishing Club has donated $500 to Nga Manu towards live food.
Live food is given to a variety of species at Nga Manu such as blue duck, kiwi, tuatara, gecko and skink.

Nga Manu Nature Reserve manager Matu Booth said the donation was "awesome".

"As a group no one sees whio more than people who are into fly fishing.

"I was invited to give a talk to the club and listened to some great stories of whio being fearless in their environment," he said.

"Fly fishers are really conscious about degradation of rivers and whio are really good indicators of the health of rivers.

"So this donation has a nice connect for them."

- Kapiti News

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