The Baer’s Pochard Aythya baeri is a Critically Endangered species. It has undergone a decline that has accelerated rapidly in recent years and has pushed this duck to the edge of extinction. We need to act urgently to save the Baer’s Pochard from extinction in the wild.
Nowadays, the species occurs predominantly within China, during both the breeding season and winter. Small numbers of breeding birds are also known to remain in southeast Russia, and a few individuals also winter in other countries, such as Myanmar, Bangladesh and Japan. Historically, the species had a much wider distribution, with important wintering concentrations in southern Asia, particularly Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand. Unfortunately, large wintering groups have not been seen in these countries recently and therefore we should first act in China to address the critical threats where the birds still occur.
Our knowledge of the ecology, threats and conservation requirements of Baer’s Pochard is limited, but it seems that the most critical threats are the loss and degradation of habitat in both its breeding and wintering ranges, and the unsustainable harvesting of birds and their eggs. Other threats, including disturbance, may also have become more significant, particularly now that the majority of individuals are apparently confined to a small number of sites.
Due to the perilous situation facing the survival of this species in the wild, an Action Plan was drafted in 2014 and endorsed, along with the formation of the Task Force, at the EAAFP Meeting of Parties in January 2015.
The featured activities of the EAAFP Baer’s Pochard Task Force are here:
To restore the Baer’s Pochard to favourable conservation status and to remove it from the threatened categories on the IUCN Red List.
To meet this goal we need to understand the causes of decline and address the most critical of these threats so that the IUCN Red List status of Baer’s Pochard moves to Endangered by 2024. To realise this, the Action Plan sets out a series of results to be achieved by 2019:
The impact of habitat loss or inappropriate management is understood and significantly reduced.
The impact of harvesting of birds and eggs from the wild is understood and significantly reduced.
Knowledge of the ecological requirements of Baer’s Pochard is significantly improved.
The understanding of population status, distribution, key sites and demography is significantly improved.
A network of protected and well managed sites is established and maintained throughout the range of the species.
A global management strategy for the captive population is developed and implemented.
Awareness of Baer’s Pochard and its conservation needs is significantly enhanced, particularly among decision-makers.
Appropriate policy for the international conservation of Baer’s Pochard is in place.
Dr. Changqing Ding is a Professor of Ornithology at the School of Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University. He is also the Vice President of the China Ornithological Society, the Coordinator of the China Anatidae Conservation and Monitoring Network, and the Chair of China Crane and Waterbird Specialist Group. He has over 15 years professional experience in the field of wildlife conservation in China. He has been leading research programs on the ecology and conservation of Crested Ibis since 1999, and has been coordinating the conservation and monitoring of ducks and geese in China since 2008.
Task Force coordinators
Head of Monitoring
Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire GL2 7BT, UK
Richard is Head of Monitoring at WWT and has over 20 years professional experience in the field of waterbird conservation. His current role includes three work areas: UK Waterbird Monitoring, Building Capacity for Waterbird Monitoring, and Indicators & Assessments. He is also the Chair of the Wetlands International / IUCN SSC Duck Specialist Group, and represents WWT on the CMS Flyways Working Group, Waterbird Harvest Specialist Group Board, and the African-Eurasian Waterbird Monitoring Partnership Steering Group. He has extensive experience of field-based research and monitoring of waterbirds, the development and implementation of waterbird monitoring activities, training in monitoring techniques, and species status assessments. He has published or co-authored >30 papers and >50 reports, and was the lead author of two international single species action plans (Long-tailed Duck and Baer’s Pochard).
Coordinator for China
Prof. Lei Cao
Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.18 Shuangqing
Road, Beijing 100085, China
All sightings of Baer’s Pochard are extremely valuable and we urge observers to submit their records to WWT, who are maintaining a database of sightings. Please send as many details as possible, including date, location, number of birds (and their sex where this can be determined), and any other relevant details such as behavioural observations, the habitat type being used by the birds, or any apparent threats to the site. Photographs of the birds and the site where they were observed are also extremely useful.