Echo parakeet management programme

Historically, the echo parakeet was abundant throughout the Island of Mauritius, but following extensive habitat loss and the introduction of exotic species it was reduced to less than 20 individuals in the wild by the late 1980s and listed as Critically Endangered. Since 1993, a species recovery programme has implemented a range of effective conservation measures, including: head-starting chicks; captive breeding and releases (population supplementation and reintroduction); supplementary feeding; nest protection; and artificial nest box provisioning.

Echo Parakeet
An adult Echo parakeet

Currently there are now 700 echo parakeets in the wild occupying much of the Black River Gorges National Park (BRGNP) in south-west Mauritius and a newly reintroduced population becoming established in the Bambous Mountains in eastern Mauritius. The echo parakeet is now listed as Endangered.

Following this remarkable recovery, the programme is now focusing its efforts on developing a suite of management and monitoring actions to ensure the viability of this species in the long-term.

Find out more: Echo parakeet recovery program

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Why we are there

ZSL’s Institute of Zoology (IoZ) is closely involved in the echo parakeet project and, along with our conservation partners and other research institutions, provides scientific evidence underpinning the species recovery programme. The recovery programme is implemented by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and the National parks and Conservation Service (Government of Mauritius), with support from the Durrell Wildlife & Conservation Trust (DWCT) and the World Parrot Trust.

Echo parakeet sat on a perch, feeding
A wild-bred Echo parakeet using a supplementary feeding station

Staff and post-graduate students at IoZ Institute of Zoology are examining how the recovering echo parakeet population has responded to; conservation management actions, disease outbreaks (Psittacine Beak & Feather Disease (PBFD)), current environmental conditions (e.g. habitat and rainfall) and how it might be affected by a changing climate in the long-term. Our scientific outputs to date not only provide the first information on key measures of population demography for the species, but also provide an insight in to the impacts of PBFD and extreme weather events on the population and how these might be mediated/mitigated through conservation management actions. 

The scientific evidence from our research not only informs the echo parakeet recovery programme, but also provides a globally relevant insight into how small populations of highly threatened species function in the face of changing environmental conditions (habitat, climate and disease) and the role conservation actions can play in mitigating these.

Impact

  • A viable echo parakeet population in the long-term.
  • A species recovery programme based around minimal management and associated monitoring.
  • Three PhD studentships.

Project Information

Key Species

Echo parakeet (Psittacula eques echo)

The Echo parakeet is the last surviving native parrot in the Mascarenes and endemic to the Island of Mauritius. It listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List.

People involved

Dr Malcolm Nicoll 
Prof Ken Norris
Joe Taylor 
Dr John Ewen
Deborah Fogell

Partners & Sponsors

Partners: Mauritian Wildlife Foundation; National Parks and Conservation Service (Government of Mauritius); Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust; University College London; DICE University of Kent; University of Reading; Chester Zoo.


Sponsors: NERC; Scenario NERC DTP; Chester Zoo; Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust; International Zoo Veterinary Group.