~ Myles Lamont, Canada’s New Noah 2013
This right here was once one of the world’s rarest birds. It teetered on the brink of extinction with only 10 birds left on the planet in 1991.
Let that sink in for a moment. The pink pigeon hovered right on the edge of oblivion and would have been just a distant rumour today, a fleeting ghost of what once was. Less than 30 years ago, we nearly added another species to the extinction list. The pink pigeon only marginally escaped the same dismal fate as the passenger pigeon and the dodo, which shared the same island home of Mauritius. The passionate dedication of a select few individuals and organizations brought the species back, and it now sits at a somewhat stable level of ~400 birds. It’s one of the most remarkable conservation success stories that no one talks about. Dr. Carl Jones of the Jersey Zoo and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust worked together with The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, and with the support of Wildlife Preservation Canada, they beat the odds and prevented another tragic case of diversity loss which we could never have been recovered. One person can make a difference, even when facing the greatest of conservation challenges.
I was privileged to watch this species while working on another endemic bird several years ago in Mauritius as a Canada’s New Noah. It never fails to amaze me how close we came to losing this species, and how the passionate endeavour of only a handful of people can make all the difference in the world.
Myles Lamont, raised in Langley, B.C., was Wildlife Preservation Canada’s Canada’s New Noah in 2013. He is currently based out of Vancouver, having returned from the Arctic after two years working mostly on caribou and muskox and some raptor work. Myles is working closely with the Hancock Wildlife Foundation, deploying backpack transmitters on eagles to track migration and habitat to determine the origin and final destination of the 35,000 eagles that pass through the area every year.