New York, NY – June 21, 2011- The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo has successfully hatched eight critically endangered Chinese merganser ducklings – a first for any North American zoo.
The eight ducklings were hatched on April 26. The zoo has two breeding pairs of Chinese mergansers, or scaly-sided mergansers, a species of sea duck found in eastern Asia.
WCS’s Central Park Zoo maintains the largest public collection of sea ducks and the only zoo-kept Chinese Mergansers in North America. Experts at the zoo hope to answer key conservation questions about the species through the captive breeding program.
“These hatchlings are a step in the right direction for the species,” said Jeff Sailer, Director of City Zoos. “Chinese merganser populations are rapidly deteriorating and by successfully breeding them in captivity, we may be able to ensure a future for this species as a whole.”
The Chinese merganser is listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List with populations estimated between 1,000 and 2,500 and falling. The decline is due to habitat destruction, pollution, illegal hunting and human disturbance of breeding territory. With these hatchlings, WCS’s Central Park Zoo will contribute to the understanding of how to better conserve the species.
Many species of waterfowl are in danger of disappearing. Waterfowl in general are not as well represented in zoos as they once were. Zoos play a vital role in raising the population numbers of endangered species like the Chinese merganser.
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The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo - Open every day of the year. General Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for senior citizens, $7 for children 3 to 12, and free for children younger than 3. Total Experience Admission is $18.00 for adults, $15.00 for senior citizens, and $13.00 for children 3 to 12. 4-D theater admission is $4.00 for members and $7.00 for non-members. Zoo hours are 10am to 5:30 pm, April through October, and 10am – 4:30pm daily, November through April. Tickets are sold until one half-hour before closing. The zoo is located at Fifth Avenue and 64th Street. For further information, please call 212-439-6500 or visit www.centralparkzoo.com