World's endangered duck found in N China

CNC
Added On June 1, 2018

Birdwatchers are celebrating in north China’s Hebei province...
 
...after a large group of baby Baer's Pochard ducks has been spotted on Hengshui Lake.
 
The birds are critically endangered.
 
But thanks to the work of conservationists, they could be making a come-back.
 
Li Feng is the leader of a local birds research group, and has observed the Baer's Pochard for years on Hengshui Lake.
 
This week, he spotted a family with 19 young ducks - a huge amount for the species.
 
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) LI FENG, Bird expert
"It’s so strange that this Baer's Pochard family consists of so many young ducks. As far as we know the Baer's Pochard family is usually formed by  8 to 10 young ducks, so we believe these young Baer's Pochards are come from two families and be taken care by one female."
 
Li said it's the first time he's seen Baer's Pochards successfully bred in Hengshui Lake this year, and just the second time in recent years.
 
He said it proves Hengshui Lake has become a rare habitable place for this critically endangered species.
 
The Baer's pochard is a diving duck found in east Asia.
 
It breeds in southeast Russia and northeast China, before migrating in winter to warmer climes in southern China, Vietnam, Japan, and India.
 
Their numbers have plummeted in recent years due to loss of habitat and poaching.
 
Despite the local success, researchers say they are still worried thanks to the gender imbalance.
  
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) LI FENG, Bird expert 
"The data we counted were more male Baer's pochards than female ones and the gender ratio even reached three to one to four to one."
 
Experts worry that if male Baer's pochards can't find a spouse, they might start to pair with ferruginous ducks instead, diluting the gene pool.