April 23, 2015
In the Pink
- as seen by -Madeleine Thompson
This Throwback Thursday takes us back to the early 1980s to celebrate a captive breeding success story – the story of this little Mauritius pink pigeon chick. At the time, pink pigeons were headed the way of another Mauritian bird, the dodo, which went extinct in the eighteenth century. Threatened by extreme habitat loss combined with predation by introduced species, pink pigeon populations had dropped to fewer than ten individuals in their native habitat on the tiny island of Mauritius, 500 miles east of Madagascar.
In the early 1980s, conservationists from several organizations embarked on a captive breeding program. Eight captive-bred pink pigeons were escorted from Mauritius to the Bronx Zoo by Ornithology Curator Donald Bruning in 1981, and the following year, Bronx Zoo Ornithology staff hand reared a pink pigeon chick, whom they called Feedback – the first pink pigeon hand reared in North America.
Today, thanks to captive breeding programs around the world and constant monitoring and management, wild pink pigeon populations are up to more than 400 individuals.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For our current assignment, we’re celebrating birds. Send us your best. In the New York area? Join us on May 9 for our annual Birdathon at the Bronx Zoo. Bring your camera and take photos for the assignment.