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Nov 30, 2009

Conservation of the Mauritius Fody

Conservation of the Mauritius fody from Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust - Jersey Zoo

Important long term conservation work on an endangered bird

The overall aim of the Mauritius fody (Foudia rubra) programme is to reduce the risk of extinction to this endemic passerine.

The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT) has worked closely with the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation (MWF) on a number of projects, successfully saving species such as the Mauritius Kestrel, Echo Parakeet and Pink Pigeon from extinction. Chester Zoo partners both DWCT and MWF on this programme to save the Mauritius Fody from extinction.

The Mauritius Fody was once a common, widely spread, bird. By the 1990s, mainly due to habitat destruction, the bird existed in only a few localised populations, numbering around 100 pairs. The main wild population is at Pigeon Wood and is intensively monitored by the project. The use of this population to provide individuals for marooning on predator free islands was agreed to be the best option for safeguarding the species future survival. In 2002, the first individuals were rescued from the wild to begin a conservation breeding programme, which then led to the release of birds onto the island of Ile aux Aigrettes (IAA).

Today, this highly successful programme sees a population on Ile aux Aigrettes of over 150 individuals. As a result of the increased population, the Mauritius Fody has been downlisted by the IUCN from Critically Endangered to Endangered. The project continues to move forward and preliminary investigations have established a second suitable release site, at Round Island. A trial release has been agreed by authorities and preparations are currently underway for this second release. 

Developed by:  Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust - Jersey Zoo  


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