For the second season whio (blue duck) ducklings are on display in Wairarapa, while they learn outdoor survival skills in the safety of the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre
The ducklings hatched from four eggs transferred from Whanganui to Pukaha Mount Bruce before Christmas. After time indoors, they were transferred to an enclosure with rocks and flowing water, mimicking the rapids they encounter out in the wild.
These four, however, are destined to become part of the captive breeding flock as DOC staff fight to ensure their long-term survival
Whio ducklings at Pukaha
Found only in New Zealand, whio are classified as Nationally Endangered because of their rarity. Unique features such as a streamlined head and large webbed feet enable them to feed in fast flowing water.
The ducks are indicators of river system health as they require clear and rocky, fast-flowing streams and rivers with high water quality and diverse invertebrate communities. They are only found in Urerewa, East Cape and North Island central catchments and along the west coast of the South Island.
DOC ranger Raelene Berry is excited about having the whio back at Pukaha Mount Bruce.
“Last summer the ducklings were only held in the purpose built aviary for the 30 day quarantine prior to their release. This year we’re putting them outdoors at a younger age and it’s a delight to watch them as they develop their diving and swimming skills and grow.”
Visitors to Pukaha Mount Bruce are encouraged to take the rare opportunity to view the ducklings either early morning or later in the afternoon due to the midday heat from February-March this year. ENDS