Join our zoo community

Wild mallards and Canada geese in zoos

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by elefante, 26 Jul 2014.

  1. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Aug 2009
    Posts:
    1,483
    Location:
    North Dakota, USA
    In all of my visits to zoos I can't help but notice all of the Canada geese and mallards that like to land in the available open water. Out of curiosity, do zoos actually feed these birds? I can see that birds in exhibits with animals like elephants probably wouldn't be too interested in hay, but what about the ducks and geese that land in waterfowl exhibits? Do the keepers chase them off when they feed the captive birds? Also, does anyone know if any of the wild birds have ever bred with captive birds? As I understand mallards in particular are known to hybridize with other species of ducks even in the wild.
     
  2. wensleydale

    wensleydale Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Apr 2014
    Posts:
    1,332
    Location:
    CT, USA
    It seems to me that a lot of these birds just show up the same way sparrows and grackles do. There is a type of duck called a Rouen though that looks like a larger version of a wild mallard. Some zoos might keep those. But not in the Elephant exhibit I imagine. Did you know that most domestic ducks are actually the descendents of mallards? I'll bet that any duck or goose who can find a relatively predator free place to live will take it.

    I did find this one piece about Mallards interbreeding in South Africa, also they are banned in Florida to protect the mottled duck from genetic pollution.

    Kruger Park Times | Alien Bird Species Pose A Threat | Online News Publication...

    I don't know about zookeepers chasing them off. Maybe some do and some don't. I wish I knew more. Canada geese are a favorite of mine, but they are so common I'll bet it is rare to see them in North American zoos. Maybe the rest of the world is a different story.
     
  3. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Aug 2009
    Posts:
    1,483
    Location:
    North Dakota, USA

    I haven't seen Rouens in zoos. I have seen some that were definitely mallards and since they were in exhibits like elephant exhibits, South American exhibits, and savanna exhibits and had no signage I'm assuming they were wild birds. I have seen Canada geese in the same types of exhibits. In the Detroit Zoo they had a wetlands exhibit that had some wood ducks that I think were wild birds. I've never been around during feeding time and that's why have wondered what the zoo keepers do.