Anna Francis

Madagascar teal breeding programme

Durrell initiated in-situ work in Menabe in 1992

Madagascar Teal Anas bernieri is endemic to western Madagascar where it is restricted to mangroves and coastal wetlands.

Poorly studied before Durrell initiated in-situ work in Menabe in 1992 this species is considered Endangered by IUCN.

Durrell’s in-situ study and conservation programme began in 1992 with surveys of priority sites and has continued to date with surveys and direct conservation including village awareness programmes, nest location, diet studies and ringing. Durrell employs several wetland staff in Madagascar, principally in the west, and has assisted the government with development of the Ramsar network.

Madagascar Teal breed during the west-coast wet season (December-March) and difficulty in in-situ study and the rarity of the duck prompted a decision by the Madagascar authorities and Durrell to initiate an ex-situ captive programme as a study tool to better understand the ecology of the duck. Prior to 1993 only one Teal had ever been kept in captivity; however, in 1993-1997 11 wild-caught birds were exported to Durrell’s headquarters in Jersey: the first captive breeding of this species was achieved in 1998 in an aviary built specifically for this species. Breeding has occurred every year since and birds have been exported from Jersey to 26 collections in 6 countries. Teal have been bred to 5 generations to date.

The project aimed to establish a self-supporting population of Madagascar Teal in captivity and to use this population for direct study of this poorly known species.

The captive population has spread since 1998 and 338 birds (as of December 2005) are held 45 collections in 10 countries (including Canada and USA). All Madagascar Teal remain on loan from the government of Madagascar and are managed by Durrell through an international studbook.

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