The Echo Parakeet is one of nine native bird species remaining on
Invasive species had been the biggest factor in the bird’s decline. Introduced plants such as the guava have spread rapidly across
Durrell and its partner organisation the Mauritian Wildlife Fund combated these threats by restoring areas of its natural habitat, removing invasive species, planting native trees and providing feeding stations. They received extensive support from The World Parrot Trust, Chester Zoo and the International Vet Group.
Techniques which the charities used to successfully increase numbers of two other critically endangered birds, Pink Pigeon and Mauritius Kestrel, were adapted. To ensure a high survival rate in the face of natural food shortages, Durrell removed all but one hatchling from the parakeets’ nests for hand-rearing. This reduced the burden on the parent birds and prevented infant mortality.
Dr Carl Jones MBE, a Durrell scientist who has spent 20 years fighting to save the birdlife of
The discovery was made earlier this month in the Mauritian highlands, but the location was kept secret until the recovery of the skeleton, nicknamed ‘Fred’, was completed on Friday. Four men guarded the site overnight.
Julian Hume, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum, told Reuters that the remains were likely to yield excellent DNA and other vital clues, because they were found intact, in isolation, and in a cave.
Photo: Echo Parakeet by Sarah Seymour (Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust)