(Seychelles News Agency) - It’s the first conservation success story of its kind in the world: the Seychelles warbler (Acrocephalus sechellensis) was one of the most threatened bird species in the world in the 1960s – down to a total population of only 26 birds, conservation experts had to move fast to avert the birds from becoming entirely extinct.
After decades of ongoing habitat rehabilitation on the last remaining island where the birds were found in the wild, the warbler’s future looks a lot brighter, thanks to efforts by local NGO Nature Seychelles, a Birdlife International partner. With the total population now in the thousands, the organisation captured 59 birds from Cousin Island and transferred them by helicopter to the private resort island of Frégate in the Seychelles in December 2011, which is now the fifth island where these birds live.
According to a new study published in Conservation Evidence this month, the birds have increased to over 80 individuals, including 42 birds hatched on Frégate, after a census was carried out on the island in June last year.
The project was funded by an $18,000 Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund grant to Nature Seychelles through the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (BirdLife International’s UK arm), the Seychelles Warbler Research Group (a collaboration between the Universities of East Anglia and Sheffield in the UK, and the University of Groningen, Netherlands) and Frégate Island Private.