Date: March 7, 2019
Source: University of Kent
A team led by a conservation biologist from the University of Kent has successfully re-located threatened Seychelles paradise flycatchers (Terpsiphone corvina) to a different island to help prevent their extinction.
Four females and two males were caught on Denis Island and taken to Curieuse Island, where they joined 11 males and nine females who were moved there from La Digue Island at the end of last year. Four weeks after that release, the first birds had nested, with the first chick recently fledged.
The project was led by Jim Groombridge, Professor of Biodiversity Conservation and Head of Kent's School of Anthropology and Conservation (SAC). Dr Rachel Bristol, who completed her PhD at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) in SAC managed the project in partnership with the Seychelles National Parks Authority. The project was financed by the UK Government's Darwin Initiative.
The move required the team to:
catch the birds using mist nets
delicately mark their tails so they are individually identifiable until their next moult
take blood samples
put them in transfer boxes (recycled cardboard boxes- modified to ensure air and with a branch placed inside for the birds to perch on)
transfer them by plane to Praslin, then by boat trip to Curieuse
give them rehydration and energy fluid
before releasing them from the hand
The Seychelles paradise flycatcher is currently 'Critically Endangered' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN red list of endangered species and conservationists hope that successfully establishing this additional population on Curieuse Island could mean they are down-listed to a less endangered category.