As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Ground-breaking reintroduction for Cabo Verde's most threatened bird

6 Jul 2018

Great escape: After years of preparation, the Raso Lark (Critically Endangered) now spreads its wings on its new home of Santa Luzia – video below

By Shaun Hurrell

Approach Raso by boat and it can look like the foundations of a prison: a ten-metre-high perimeter wall of seemingly impenetrable reddish volcanic rock rises from a 'moat' of turbulent, shark-patrolled, Atlantic water. But rather than tall turrets and defensive battlements, the only human infrastructure on this mostly flat little island is an ex-military tent; rather than guards carrying guns, instead one might spot conservation biologists programming radio tags through the wind-torn gaps in the tent’s canvas.

Who, then, are the ‘prisoners’? Raso Larks Alauda razae (Critically Endangered), some of the rarest birds in the world. For many decades this little brown, crested bird has been confined to Ilhéu Raso (Raso Islet), a mere seven square kilometres of barren rock in Cabo Verde, off the west coast of Africa. The ‘crime’? It’s a complicated case of injustice: the Raso Lark is an innocent victim of the human introduction of invasive predators.

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