A paddling of precious whio ducklings have hatched at Auckland Zoo!

These special ducklings are the first whio born at our zoo in five years and as part of our breed and release programme, are destined for a beautiful North Island river.

Over the next eight weeks they will continue to grow, eventually heading to a duckling ‘boot-camp’ at a Department of Conservations facility in Turangi. Here they will build up their muscles and learn to fly, preparing them for their new life in the wild. In 2002 Auckland Zoo successfully released eleven whio chicks!

This iconic native bird, while featured prominently on our $10 note is nationally endangered. These ducks require clean, fast flowing streams to swim in and because of this, are a key indicator of the health of our rivers. Once found in the North and South Island their numbers have reduced greatly due to water pollution and predation.

Whio releases are a great example of the work that we do behind the scenes to conserve native wildlife. Although these ducklings are off display, you can see adult whio swimming in the streams in The High Country aviary in Te Wao Nui.