A United States ornithologist, David McIlvey, has taken charge of a World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) programme to save the Mauritius kestrel from extinction.
SV David McIlvey carrying bird, leaving house
SV McIlvey and assistants walking through forest
GV Country believed to be inhabited by kestrels
GV McIlvey and assistants setting up net 93 shots
SV McIlvey sets up kestrel on log in front of net as bait, and kestrel flying but tied to log (2 shots)
SV Kestrel on log behind net
CU McIlvey looking through binoculars at countryside (2 shots)
SCU/LV Kestrel on log (3 shots)
SV Breeding pair of kestrels in aviary (2 shots)
CU & SV Rare pink pigeons in aviary (2 shots)
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Background: A United States ornithologist, David McIlvey, has taken charge of a World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) programme to save the Mauritius kestrel from extinction.
Mr. McIlvey is trying to capture two of the six kestrels still left in the world to insure a WWF breeding project is successful in producing more of the kestrels -- believed to be the world's rarest birds.
In all there are eight of the kestrels left. Two are in captivity in Mauritius and they've produced eggs but due to a series of unfortunate accidents none of the chicks has lived.
However, the WWF is hoping the breeding will be a success this season (October) and to make certain of this, Mr. McIlvey is using an American kestrel to try and lure wild Mauritius kestrels into a carefully constructed trap.
The American kestrel is being displayed in a prominent position on a log under the flight path of the wild kestrel. In front of the tame kestrel, which is secured to the log by string, is fine wire net.
Being very territorial, the wild kestrels should try and drive off the intruder and, in doing so, they should be caught in the net.
Mr. McIlvey is also planning to let the "captive" mother look after her own eggs this year as she proved her worthiness by raising the American kestrel now being used as a lure.
The entire project has the backing of the Mauritius Government and its Forestry Department, within whose territories the rare birds live.
The mauritius kestrel is so rare because of a bitter twist of nature.
Monkeys imported from India are extremely fond of the kestrel's eggs. And, of course, the age old problems of man destroying wild life has once again added to the near destruction of the species.
Mr. McIlvey is also supervising a programme to breed Mauritius pink pigeons -- believed to be the second rarest bird in the world. only 24 are known to exist.
The WWF have two pairs of the pigeons in Mauritius and have great hopes for the coming breeding season.