Monday, February 24, 2014

Socorro Dove

The Socorro Dove has not been seen in the wild for more than 40 years. It was last spotted on Socorro Island, its only known range, back in 1972.

Socorro Dove's are Extinct in the Wild, and there are between 100 and 200 birds living in captivity. Conservationists would like to get the birds reintroduced to their former habitat, a small island off the coast of Mexico, but there are challenges in the way.

The birds have been bred in captivity, thankfully, but their former home is not suitable for reintroduction yet. The birds went extinct due to the introduction of livestock (that overgrazed the bushes that the birds lived in) and feral cats, who hunted the mostly ground-dwelling Doves ruthlessly.

In order for the Doves to return home, feral cats would need to be eradicated from the island. Removal of cats from small islands has been done before (like in the offshore islands of New Zealand where Kakapo are now struggling to make a comeback), but it is very time consuming.

IUCN Status : Extinct in the Wild
Location : Mexico
Size : Length up to 13in (33cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Columbiformes
Family : Columbidae -- Genus : Zenaida -- Species : Z. graysoni
Image : Rob Edwards

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