Sunday, 23 July 2017

Conservation Updates: Denis Private Island

Census reveals endangered Magpie Robins flourishing on Denis Island

One of Seychelles’ most endangered bird species is thriving on Denis Island, according to a census conducted in June.

Carried out by Rachel Bristol and Indira Gamatis in association with the Green Islands Foundation, the census placed the population of the Seychelles Magpie Robin on Denis at 76, a far cry the 20 that were originally translocated to the island in 2008. 

The results of this latest count show an additional 19 juvenile birds spotted from the last census undertaken a year ago, indicating a productive breeding pattern. Twelve of the 19 unringed birds were ring-tagged as part of the census, which also recorded patterns for where and with which other birds the robins tend to dwell.

“It is delightful to see that the habitat on Denis is contributing to the survival of one of Seychelles’ natural treasures,” Denis Island PR, Branding and Communications Manager Nicole St Ange said. “Our sincere thanks to the Green Islands Foundation and our staff for their wonderful work, along with all our guests, without whom this model of conservation would not be possible.”

Known by its scientific name Copsychus sechellarum, the Seychelles Magpie Robin was at one point on the brink of extinction, with only 16 individuals believed to be remaining in the world in 1970, all on Fregate Island. 

Populations have since been transferred to Cousin, Cousine, and Aride, in addition to Denis, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has down-listed its status from Critically Endangered to Endangered.

Two of the original robins translocated from Frégate Island are still present on Denis. These two males are a minimum of 10 years old as both were adults at the time of translocation.
Conservation efforts to support the magpie robin population on Denis include the provision of nesting boxes and clearing small areas on the island to improve the foraging habitat for the robins within the forested conservation zone of Denis.

The eradication of rodents along with the restoration of native woodland habitats on Denis have paved the way for many endemic birds on the island to thrive.

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