The Madagascar pochard, which is said to be the world's rarest bird, has gotten a boost to its dying species after 18 ducklings have been successfully bred in captivity in order to save it from extinction.

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, or WWT, announced on Friday that the ducklings are being rared at a facility in the Antsohihy, Madagascar, which was specially built. The center opened last year by Dr. Lee Durrell.

The breeding program is a part of a joint effort by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, WWT, the Peregrine Fund, Asity Madagascar and the Government of Madagascar.

The ducklings represent an incredible step forward in the fight to save the pochard from extinction, said Dr. Glyn Young, a conservation biologist with Durrell. Seven years ago, people thought this bird was already extinct and yet the discovery of one small population and now the arrival of these ducklings has led to real hope that the birds can one day flourish again.

The pochards were rediscovered in 2006 on a small lake, Lake Matsaborimena (or Red Lake), in northern Madagascar, after it was believed that the species was extinct.

Numbering just 22 birds, the ducks remain extremely vulnerable to extinction from a single event such as pollution or a disease outbreak, WWT website stated.