The Debrecen Zoo has grown with a pair of Malagasy ducks: the endangered animals came to the Big Forest from the Zurich Zoo as part of the European Species Conservation Breeding Program (EAZA EEP) – the director of the zoo said.
Sándor Gergely Nagy wrote that this species, which is considered endangered in its natural habitat, can be seen in only 24 zoos worldwide, and now the general public can meet it for the first time in a domestic institution.
The ducklings and eggs that hatched last spring can now be seen in the company of several other species of ducks, and in the spring they will take possession of the duck lake with lush waterside vegetation and nesting burrows – he indicated.
According to the announcement, the Madagascar duck (Anas melleri), endemic to the eastern part of the island country, was long thought to be a darker version of common mallard eggs due to its mottled brown plumage and bright green wing mirror characteristic of both sexes, although based on its behavior and genetics, its development may have separated from its relatives relatively long ago. Pairs are highly territorial during the mating season, unlike most closely related species, and remain together until the young become independent.
Due to the dramatic destruction of the swamps and lake areas that serve as its habitat, the species is now on the verge of extinction, and its protection was greatly hindered until recently by its incorrect taxonomic classification: in 1994 it was still moderately threatened, but in 2000 it was already classified as endangered on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).