Biodiversity challenge – Socorro dove

High coo

Sad Socorro dove
Softly murmuring above
Lofty words of love.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Species profile: Socorro dove

IUCN Red List Category: Extinct in the wild

Named after the remote offshore Mexican island where it used to live, the Socorro dove became extinct in the wild in the 1970s . Having evolved on an island with no natural predators, this tame, confiding, ground-feeding dove was extremely vulnerable to the invasive rats and domestic cats that had been accidentally or deliberately introduced to Socorro by humans. Overgrazing by feral sheep and goats and foliage damage caused by locust infestations also destroyed much of the native forest vegetation on which the dove depended for survival. A worldwide captive breeding programme has saved the Socorro dove from extinction, but it cannot be reintroduced to the island until the non-native species have been removed or eradicated and the native vegetation restored.

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