Rare Duck Now Rat-Free and Loving It

The world's most endangered duck species now has a second home, a booming breeding season, and a new hope for survival.

Three years ago, the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service collaborated to move 42 Laysan teal ducks from their only home on Laysan Island -- where their population has been practically obliterated by introduced predators like rats and mongooses -- to the rat-free Midway Atoll, located 750 miles away.

Although evidence suggests that the Laysan teal once lived all across the Hawaiian islands, their population had been killed off everywhere but Laysan Island by 1860. Located too far out to sea for the birds to migrate away from the island, the birds barely survived the next 150 years, and scientists feared that a single natural disaster could wipe out the species forever.

And so the Survey and the Service trapped a handful of ducks, equipped them with tracking transmitters, and trekked them 750 miles across the ocean to their new home.

It's been a successful move, and reports indicated that there are now approximately 200 ducks living on Midway. With the success of this experiment, the team is now even considering starting a third population on another island.

I don't get to report on success stories too often, so let's hope this is one species that continues to experience good news.

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