In 2009, Sylvan Heights Bird Park received a call from the US Embassy in Trinidad, asking them to help restore two species of nearly-extinct native ducks, the White-Faced Whistling Duck and the Bahama Pintail. Four years later, they are celebrating the successful introduction of individuals of both species back into Trinidad, a promising sign for the health of native populations.
Sylvan Heights Bird Park is located in Scotland Neck, North Carolina and is a non-profit organization that educates the public about the conservation and research of waterfowl and wetland habitats around the world. They raise birds and release them into the wild through a breeding-and-release program on site. To assist with the restoration of the two Trinidad duck species, Sylvan Heights partnered with the Point-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust in South Trinidad, an organization that focuses on the conservation of Trinidad’s native waterfowl.
The first step they took was to hatch 12 ducks of each species in their Avian Breeding Center. When the birds were mature enough, Sylvan Heights Executive Director Mike Lubbock personally transported the birds to Trinidad, where they were introduced into a protected area at Point-a-Pierre. Point-a-Pierre will use the ducks to boost wild populations in Trinidad’s wetlands.
"This is why we do what we do here at Sylvan Heights," said Lubbock. "When our birds are able to contribute to the health of the wild population, our mission is complete."
Sylvan Heights created this video about their experience raising the ducks and transporting them to Trinidad.
Lubbock, who is internationally renowned for his expertise in waterfowl propagation, will continue to advise Pointe-a-Pierre on best practices for breeding and rearing the two species. "We're absolutely thrilled to have these birds here," said Molly Gaskin, president of the Point-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust. “ If all goes as planned, these birds will again be as plentiful in Trinidad as they once were."