Blog 135

Pink Pigeon Conservation and Mauritian Rum

Tom

Director and founder of 135

Pink Pigeon (Nesoenas mayeri)

Pink Pigeon in Flight

Pink Pigeons are endemic to Mauritius and were once found widely distributed across the island.  In recent times populations of Pink Pigeons have been confined to the upland forests and as a result fragmented.  This was caused primarily by sugar cane plantations and the resulting habitat destruction, alongside the introduction of invasive predators such as rats, feral cats, mongoose’s and monkeys and plant species such as the Chinese Guava, which outcompete native species.

By the 1950’s the population of the Pink Pigeon was down to 50 individuals and by mid-1970s only 20 birds survived in an individual population, in what is now known as Pigeon Wood (Black River Gorges). Worse still, in 1986 only 12 remained and 0 out of 5 nesting attempts failed – it looked to all as though the Pink Pigeon was rapidly following in the footsteps of the islands most notorious bird, the Dodo.

However, the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation initiated an intensive conservation programme in 1976, resulting in the release of the first captive bred birds in 1987.  Today there are 5 sub-populations in and around the MWF’s field stations and Conservation Management Areas, all within the Black River Gorges National Park as well as one on the predator-free Ile aux Aigrettes.

Long term, the sub populations are still too confined for survival without aid, therefore further forest areas need to be restored to create safe nesting and food.  By increasing the number of subpopulations and decreasing the areas between them we are able to increase the genetic diversity of the population and limit the danger of inbreeding depression.  The current population is at around 500 individuals, the target is 600.

Pink Pigeon Rum:

Pink Pigeon Rum

The rum is un-aged deliberately to secure a smooth, light and elegant taste, serving as a canvas for the following infusions:

  • Bourbon Vanilla – Hand pollinated and hand-picked natural Bourbon vanilla grows in the rainforests of La Reunion and Madagascar before being sun dried in matured wooden cases for one year.  Universally considered to be among the finest vanilla in the world, this is then infused with the rum for 6 months.
  • Orchid Leaves – Delicate and fragrant, these leaves are traditionally used to make home-made rum punch.  Grown in La Reunion, they give the rum delicately perfumed floral and herbal notes
  • Orange Peel – Straight from Reunion, the dried orange peel gives the rum a zingy lift and fresh, lively edge.

To support the continued preservation of the rums namesake, Pink Pigeon are proud to donate to the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation

Mauritian Wildlife Foundation:

Mauritian Wildlife Foundation

The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation is the only NGO in Mauritius to be exclusively concerned with the conservation of the endangered and endemic plants and animals of Mauritius.

Their Mission:

  • To save threatened Mauritian species through the restoration of entire ecosystems
  • To seek new information through field research, data management, captive studies and scientific collaboration for direct application to restoration methods and management
  • To share knowledge gained through restoration programmes with fellow Mauritian and international conservationists
  • To share the joys and benefits of native wilderness and wildlife with the Mauritian people
  • To secure the future of Mauritian species through income generation and sound management of human, fiscal and capital resources

Pink Pigeon Management:

In addition to the captive breeding mentioned above, the MWF also follows the below management policies in order to preserve this species:

Monitoring – Every Pink Pigeon is tagged with an individual ID band and followed individually.  In depth analyses of nests and behaviour of the birds is constantly updated in order to understand more fully the factors affecting their survival.
Supplementary Feeding – The degradation of the birds habitat and the invasion of alien species has meant that the birds often find it difficult to feed.  As a result, the MWF provides whole wheat in specially designed hoppers to ensure only the Pink Pigeons can access it.
Predator and disease management - Poison grids and traps are set up to lessen the impacts of invasive predators on the birds and the spread of diseases.

How to Drink:

Pink Lemonade

40ml Pink Pigeon Rum

10ml Triple Sec (replace with FAIR. Kumquat for a more ethical version)

25ml Lemon Juice

15ml Sugar Syrup

Soda

Garnish: Lemon Slice

Shake all ingredients (except soda and garnish) and strain over ice into a highball glass and top with soda. 

 

Of course, if this all sounds like a little too faffy, you could always pop into Bar 135 and order off the Cocktails for Conservation Menu, where we will donate £1 from every drink sold towards conservation projects worldwide

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