A new Hawaii-inspired exhibit has opened at WWT Slimbridge.
Mission Possible tells the story of conservation work undertaken by the wetland centre’s founder, Sir Peter Scott.
In 1979 he released 200 nēnēs – the world’s rarest goose – on the island of Maui, their native home.
With all the best grassland having disappeared for farming, the only nēnēs that survived lived on golf courses, where they fed on the rich grasses.
The new exhibit at Slimbridge recreates this Hawaiian landscape and includes a golf course and club house. Visitors can also hand-feed the nēnēs.
During the 1950s the Hawaiian goose – fondly known in Hawaii as ‘nēnē’ for their ‘nay-nay’ murmur, was close to extinction due to the introduction of predators and the loss of habitat in Hawaii.
There were only 30 nēnēs left, so Sir Peter Scott had three birds sent to Slimbridge for breeding where he pioneered the first ever captive breeding project for nēnēs. WWT began to successfully breed the nēnēs in captivity and release them back into the wild, the world population is now 3,000. The population remains vulnerable and still relies on regular releases of captive-bred birds.
Within Mission Possible visitors can also visit the duckery and see eggs and ducklings being raised within rearing tanks and enclosures. Visitors can discover the ground-breaking techniques pioneered by Sir Peter Scott that still form the basis of WWT’s breeding programmes around the world.
Mission Possible is open now but all visitors must pre-book.