3 decades on…

Happy anniversary to #DurrellTeam and Pink Pigeons!

Pink Pigeon

It was, without a doubt, one of the most important days in my life when just recently Lee, John Hartley and I went to the island of Mauritius and, with Carl Jones, responsible for the Black River breeding centre, released two captive bred Pink Pigeons into the wild.

Gerald Durrell, On the Edge, Spring 1984

That was 30 years ago.

Today, the Pink Pigeon stands as one of the great success stories of the conservation movement. In 1984 there were just 13 to 15 birds in the wild – up from the ‘barely double-digits’ number of 10, found when the project to save them began. By 2011 the official IUCN population figures stood at a much safer 446 birds.

For the team at Durrell, however, the 30 year anniversary of this release has even greater significance, as these beautiful birds were the first species we ever bred in captivity and released into the wild – the realisation of Gerry’s main vision for his then 21-year-old Trust.

This, the birds themselves and the fact that 30 years on, Carl Jones – a crucial member of the team from the very beginning – is in the running for one of the greatest accolades in conservation, are things we are enormously proud of.

We hope you, our members and supporters, share this sense of pride with us. Without you 30 years of saving the most endangered animals could never have happened. If, wherever you are, you’d like to raise a glass to celebrate this milestone, thank you for being part of the journey so far.

Now - and the future

Intensive monitoring and conservation work continues today in cooperation with our partners at the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and Mauritius National Parks and Conservation Service. These efforts include the tagging of new hatched chicks, controlling invasive species which threaten indigenous populations, and disease monitoring. No stone is left unturned in the pursuit of nurturing these iconic birds.

For a fascinating insight into the world of Pink Pigeon conservation, check out the blog from Durrell keeper Catherine Francescon, who spent a period of time with the Pink Pigeon conservation team in Mauritius.

Of course, we can't do any of this without the generous support of our unbelievable supporters. To help, please join us and donate what you can using the below button, and safeguard populations of Pink Pigeons and other endemic species for generations to come!

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