Tierpark Berlin is committed to the conservation and reintroduction of marbled ducks in Spain.
Project partner: Zoobotánico Jerez and the Consorci per a la Recuperació de la Fauna de las Illes Balears (COFIB)
Species: Marbled duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris)
IUCN threatened status: Vulnerable (VU)
Project location: Mallorca, Spain
Greatest threat: Destruction of habitat
Response: Setting up breeding programmes; releasing zoo-bred marbled ducks into the wild
Once a common sight
Tierpark Berlin has been home to marbled ducks since 1961. These small ducks were once common across Central Asia and the Mediterranean region – including large parts of Spain. The species favours shallow waters with dense reed growth, but this type of habitat is becoming increasingly hard to find.
Destruction of their habitat and breeding sites has resulted in a drastic reduction in the number of marbled ducks left in the wild. The ducks’ habitat is primarily being destroyed by the draining of wetlands for agricultural expansion. In 2007, only three breeding pairs were known to be living in Mallorca. The marbled duck is therefore designated “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. That is the same classification given to, for example, the African elephant and the Indian rhinoceros.
A fresh start on the island
In 2009, a project for the reintroduction of marbled ducks was launched in the S’Albufera Natural Park in the northeast of Mallorca. The wetland area in this park is one of the most important in the Balearics. In 2017, Tierpark Berlin teamed up with Opel Zoo Kronberg in Germany and Zoobotánico Jerez in Spain to organise the release of 25 zoo-bred ducks into the Mallorcan park – including, for the first time, nine ducks hatched at the Tierpark.
The future looks bright
By 2017, more than 95 marbled ducks had already been successfully released into the wild. And the future looks promising for these feathered expats: the ducks released in recent years have clearly settled in well, and some breeding pairs have been discovered.