EAZA Ex situ Programme (EEP)

(Mergus squamatus)

 Johnpaul Houston 
Institution:   Réserve Zoologique de Calviac

EAZA Member Area


Réserve Zoologique de Calviac

IUCN Red List status

IUCN Red List EN


Programme roles

Direct Conservation icon  Insurance
Manage captive breeding populations in North America and Europe to maximise genetic diversity and establish a funding mechanism for zoos to support in situ conservation was a recommended conservation role (Scaly-sided merganser Action Plan). However, the feasibility of the insurance population was rated as Medium. Even though it might potentially be possible to bring in birds from Russia, we are currently stills struggling with some husbandry issues.

It was mentioned that one of the recognised roles of the Scaly-sided merganser Action Plan would be assistance of the conservation efforts in the range states, in terms of training and staff expertise. There was some discussion on the feasibility of the training role. Mainly because EAZA is currently not successfully breeding the species. So, this might not be feasible for EAZA, but is for AZA (as they are more successful than EAZA). We might even have to work on a model involving private holders to learn about husbandry as they seem more successful.

Paternal genetic inheritance was also flagged as a research project that could be executed by ex situ partners. On the genetic research, students are already working on this, and again the private holders have offered to help with this. Although in the action plan it is a Medium priority, we set it as benefit High, because it may contribute to good relations between the in situ and ex situ parties as well.
Indirect Conservation icon  Husbandry research
Husbandry research is definitely necessary to improve. In 2018 the scaly‐sided mergansers were bred for the first time in years in EAZA. Suitable enclosures are also limited.

Fundraising was stated as the Highest recommended conservation role for zoos in the ASAP. This would then feed into already established projects.

 Model species
This species can be a model species for other merganser species. 

Programme partners

East Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership IUCN SSC Threatened Waterfowl SG




Programme numbers

In May 2021, the Scaly-sided merganser EEP had 39 animals in 13 institutions.

Programme highlights

  • The IUCN Threatened Waterfowl Specialist Group has an active Facebook Group which is open for anyone to join if you are interested in threatened duck and other waterfowl species. 
  • The EAZA Waterfowl and Pelecaniformes TAG Chair gave a presentation about the TAG at the 2020 Waterfowl Conservation Workshop in Barneveld (the Netherlands).
  • The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) has a webpage dedicated to Scaly - sided merganser with how to recognize them and their habitat. 
  • EAZA published its 2021 Annual TAG Report. 

LIFE logo with white paddingThis work is supported by the European Union LIFE NGO funding programme. The European Union is not responsible for the views displayed in publications and/or in conjunction with the activities for which the grant is used.