This bird is a Socorro dove, a bird that is Extinct in the Wild. The species has been saved from complete extinction only by the hard work of top zoos.

This squab – young unfledged pigeon – is one of five that we have bred here at Paignton Zoo this year. They are significant hatchings as the last Socorro dove was sighted in the wild on Socorro Island in 1972. The species became extinct due to the introduction of cats, habitat loss because of sheep over grazing and human predation.

A European Endangered species Programme (EEP) is in place for the species. This means that the captive population is managed intensively; birds are paired up based on genetic analysis. It is like a dating agency for birds.

In 2006 we sent birds to Albuquerque Zoo and after their breeding efforts over several years, in 2013 three pairs from Albuquerque Zoo and The Rio Grande Bio Park were sent to Africam Safari Zoo's breeding station at Valsequillo, Puebla, Mexico. In 2014 the first successful captive breeding of Socorro doves occurred in Mexico. This is a big step closer to the Socorro dove being reintroduced back in to the wild.

Extinct in the Wild is one step away from a species disappearing forever. The Socorro dove is still close to the edge. But conservationists are working hard on its behalf. It's good to know that the bird team at Paignton Zoo is having a small part to play in saving this species.

Peter Smallbones
Senior Head Bird Keeper

Quotes An awesome experience. The amount of free space given to the animals was very impressive Quotes