Meller’s Ducks Nene Geese
Although to some people it may look like a rather boring brown bird, Meller’s duck is one of the world’s rarest and least known species of wildfowl.
It is one of three duck species that only occur naturally in Madagascar. A recent survey revealed this shy and retiring duck to have a small and rapidly declining population, because of hunting and encroachment on its habitat by humans. A pair of Meller’s ducks arrived in Jersey from Mauritius in 1977 to start a captive breeding program. Since then around 150 young have been reared at Durrell’s headquarters and sent to other institutions. In 1993 further birds were imported from Madagascar and these replaced the ex-Mauritian birds as the founders of a managed captive breeding program.
This captive population forms an effective safeguard for the survival of the species, should the worst happen in the wild. Also crucial to the conservation of this species is extensive research on its behavior in captivity and in its natural habitat, as well as the support and education of local people in Madagascar.
The Nene is one of 30 birds species in Hawaii classified by both the State and Federal government as an endangered species. It is Hawaii's state bird, which adds a special impetus to its preservation as a symbol of native Hawaiian wildlife. It is also the only goose endemic to the Hawaiian Archipelago which exists; at least eight other endemic goose species are known to have become extinct.
As with all geese, the Nene is monomorphic. That is, the sexes are nearly identical in appearance, with the male being somewhat larger.
The breeding season (nest construction, egg laying, and incubation) of wild Nene in Hawaii generally begins in October and ends in February. This corresponds more or less with the wet winter season in Hawaii, when most plant growth occurs. (http://www.honoluluzoo.org/nene_goose.htm
2012 is our first year with the Nenes and we have totaly fallen in love with these little guys. They have the "big dog sydrome" and rule the pen. They will chase after just about anything including people and are very curious.