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ABQ BioPark Partners With Zoos in Conservation Effort

Socorro Doves One Step Closer to Home

Two Socorro dove chicks

The ABQ BioPark Zoo is on the forefront of an effort to expand the population of the Socorro dove, a species native to Socorro Island off the west coast of Mexico.

The Socorro dove (Zenaida graysoni) was declared extinct in the wild in the early 1980’s. The European Dove Interest Group began a species management program that is now directed from the Frankfurt Zoo. As a result of those efforts, the Socorro dove has survived in captivity for the past 30 years with about 75 birds in Europe today.

The ABQ BioPark became involved in 2008 when 12 birds were imported from England with the assistance of the Island Endemics Foundation in order to establish a North American population. Since then, the BioPark has successfully hatched and reared 22 chicks, increasing the world’s population by nearly 25%. The BioPark has also recruited additional partners to hold and breed the birds.

 

“This is a great conservation story,” said Peter Shannon, Curator of Birds. “The amazing efforts of zoos and private aviculturists have saved this species from extinction.”

The BioPark directs the North American program along with partners at the National Zoo, Louisville Zoo and Tracy Aviary in the effort to keep the Socorro dove population expanding. The North American flock now stands at about 33 birds.

The growth of the captive flocks in the U.S. could lead to the transfer of some birds to Mexican facilities in the near future. And if the many issues that contributed to the extinction of the birds in the wild are corrected, the hope of returning the Socorro dove to the wild may become a reality in the next few years.

Socorro doves are on exhibit in the Zoo’s Tropical America building.

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