By Kevin Heath
A breeding programme of the vulnerable Philippine duck at a Sunderland wildlife park has suffered a set back with 11 of the endangered ducks having been stolen. With less than 10,000 of the duck remaining in the wild there is a demand for the ducks in private duck collector circles. Philippine ducks (Anas luzonica) are hard to breed in captivity and this years breeding season has been very poor around the country. This has led to an increase in demand for the ducks.
Two remaining ducklings and the breeding adults have now been moved from the Washington Wetlands Centre to the parent organisations Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Slimbridge. The police are currently investigating the theft which is thought to have taken place sometime between Thursday 19th August and Tuesday 24th August.
With it’s black and chestnut head and blue bill the Philippine duck is a popular and colourful duck that many collectors seek. They are also popular with collectors because they are pretty hardy and can live in a wide range of wetland environments. While the Philippine duck does not command the highest prices among collectors a pair of Philippines can fetch between $150 and $200 on the market.
Sadly due to over hunting and wetland losses in wetland habitat in it’s home country of the Philippines it is now considered to be a vulnerable species. Numbers are thought to be currently less than 10,000 in the wild down from as many as 100,000 in 1993.
Originally endemic to all the major and most of the minor Philippine Islands there have been steep declines since the mid 1970′s and there have been many local extinctions. The current major strongholds for the duck in it’s native area includes
- Polillo Island
- Subic Bay
- Magat dam