Hamilton Zoo hatches first ducklings in 17 years

  • 20/09/2017
The whio are the first to hatch in Hamilton Zoo in 17 years.
The whio are the first to hatch in Hamilton Zoo in 17 years. Photo credit: Public domain

Hamilton Zoo has welcomed two whio ducklings, who are the first to hatch at the zoo in 17 years.

The eggs were laid in the zoo's free flight aviary and hatched in incubators in August, and are believed to be a male and a female,

"We are rapt our new breeding pair has got the recipe for success right, whereas previous pairs have not," team leader of native and exotic fauna, Cheridan Mathers said.

Conditions for whio to thrive are hard to replicate as the species rely on high-quality, stable rivers and stream catchments, and prefer to nest in ground level rock crevices near steep stream banks.

"Although this hatching says great things about the environment we've created at Hamilton Zoo, sadly these conditions are not as easy to find in the wild as they used to be," Ms Mathers said.

Whio are classed as endangered, and it's estimated there are only 1200 adults left.

Hamilton Zoo staff will care for the chicks until they are strong enough for release into a aviary, before full release into the wild.