Action: Control mammalian predators on islands for pigeons
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Two before-and-after trials on Mauritius found that fewer pink pigeon Columba mayeri nests were predated and more chicks were fledged following systematic and intensive rat control.
The pink pigeon Nesoenas mayeri is an endangered species from Mauritius that declined to just ten wild individuals in 1990 before intensive captive breeding and in situ management. The species is still under pressure from several threats, including predation by introduced mammals: crab-eating macaque Macaca fascicularis, Indian mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus, rats Rattus spp. and feral cats Felis catus (Reese Lind 1994; Swinnerton 2001).
The effectiveness assessment of the control of mammalian predators on islands was carried out across all bird species groups.
Reese Lind, C. (1994) Management of the EEP Pink Pigeon Columba (Nesoenas) mayeri population. Dodo: Journal of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, 30, 106–113.
Swinnerton, K. (2001) Ecology and conservation of the Pink Pigeon Columba mayeri on Mauritius. Journal of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, 37, 99
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A before-and-after trial in ‘Pigeon Wood’ (mixed forests), Black River Gorges National Park, Mauritius in 1989-91 (Jones et al. 1992) found that fewer pink pigeon Nesoenas mayeri (formerly Columba mayeri) nest were predated by rats Rattus spp. in 1992 (12% of eight nests predated), compared to in 1989-90 (32% of 22 nests predated, following the initiation of systematic rat control (using brodifacoum bait stations). This study is also discussed in ‘Provide supplementary food to increase adult survival’, ‘Use captive breeding to increase or maintain populations’, ‘Release captive bred individuals’ and ‘Provide supplementary food after release’ and ‘Predator control on islands’.
A before-and-after trial in Brise Fer, Mauritius (Tatayah et al. 2007) found that four pink pigeon Nesoenas mayeri (formerly Columba mayeri) chicks fledged in 2006, during the trialling of a new ‘hockey stick’ bait station to control rats Rattus spp., compared to no successful fledgings in 2005 and ‘few to no chicks’ in the previous few years.
- Jones C. G., Swinnerton K. J., Taylor C. J. & Mungroo Y. (1992) The release of captive-bred pink pigeons Columba mayeri in native forest on Mauritius. A progress report July 1987-June 1992. Dodo, 28, 92-125
- Tatayah R.V.V., Haverson P., Wills D. D. & Robin S. (2007) Trial of a new bait station design to improve the efficiency of rat Rattus control in forest at Black River Gorges National Park, Mauritius. Conservation Evidence, 4, 20-24