The rarest bird worldwide – a type of duck called the Madagascar pochard – has been given a new home in time for the brand-new year.
An international group of scientists released 21 of the birds at a lake in the north of Madagascar.
It is a step towards the recovery of a species that simply over a decade ago was thought to be extinct.
Saving the types might also be a first step in safeguarding Madagascar’s threatened wetlands.
Why is this species under such danger?
When it wasn’t seen for 15 years, the Madagascar pochard was thought to have actually been erased totally. Then a tiny group of the birds was rediscovered in 2006 at one remote lake.
These were the last 25 Madagascar pochards on the planet.
Wetland habitats in the country have been so contaminated and harmed that these couple of remaining birds had actually been forced into this last unblemished location.
But, as Rob Shaw, head of preservation programmes at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) discussed to BBC News, they were just “sticking on to existence in a location not really suited to them”.
Their last pristine refuge was too deep and too cold for the pochards to prosper.
” The hazards that they face across the rest of Madagascar – and why they’ve been eliminated so thoroughly – are vast,” explained Rob Shaw.
” They vary from sedimentation, intrusive types, contamination, poor farming practices – a whole suite of problems that produce the perfect storm making it extremely difficult for a species like the Madagascar pochard to survive.”