Meet the Parents
This is Jazzy.
Jazzy is a whio (blue duck) living at Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre. Jazzy has a weak spot for fellow resident, Jimmy, and his ‘blue steel’ model looks. Together, Jazzy and Jimmy are helping to increase whio numbers in the wild.
Jazzy and Jimmy are part of the Whio Forever ‘breed for release’ programme, helping to increase populations of this endangered bird in the wild. Whio are at risk in the wild, largely due to introduced predators such as stoats. Whio Forever, a partnership between Genesis and DOC, works to protect and increase whio populations. Jazzy and Jimmy don’t know this, of course, they’re just living the duck’s life.
Jazzy and Jimmy succeeded in their quest to parent some new whio, although not all the eggs were viable. Pūkaha staff removed the eggs into care, encouraging the pair to breed for a second time in the season.
Three tiny ducklings hatched to spend their early weeks in purpose-built environments at Pūkaha, complete with a pond for swimming practice!
Whio are a ‘whitewater duck’, so in the wild they do face the risks of uncertain climate and flooding in their home rivers. That’s just part of life for whio, but our breed-for-release ducklings get a free pass to avoid that kind of trauma. Most importantly, introduced predators such as stoats are excluded.
Three little ducklings, off to boarding school, in…Turangi?! The whio creche in Turangi is designed to provide captive-bred whio the chance to learn skills they need to survive in the wild. They surf little rapids, walk on rocks, fly, and eat live food, all while becoming strong and healthy ready for their release.
Regular health checks keep the whio on the right track, making sure they have the best chance possible to survive when they are released into the wild. While in care, the whio have bands on their legs to help with identification. Some volunteers named the Pūkaha chicks after their bands, so we have the unlikely names of: Christmas (red & green), DOC (green & green), and Banana-mint (yellow-green).
A new forever home
The three Pūkaha chicks and friends were released at the end of January to a site at Blue Duck Station. They have a bright future ahead, with significant predator control in place to keep them safe from stoats. Is it weird to say ‘live long and prosper’?
If you want to see videos of the Pūkaha ducklings’ journey, visit the Whio Forever Facebook page and search for #Jazzywhanau