The global range of the Aldabra white-throated rail Dryolimnas cuvieri aldabranus, the last surviving flightless bird in the Indian Ocean, was restricted to only three islands of Aldabra Atoll in 1998. It was extirpated on the islands of Grand Terre (before the late 1800s) and Picard (soon after 1910), mainly due to the introduction of feral cats by early settlers. In 1999, following the eradication of cats from Picard, 18 Aldabra rails were successfully reintroduced. After the reintroduction, population growth of the Aldabra rail on Picard was predicted to continue to approximately 1,000 pairs by 2010. In this paper, we report on the long-term effectiveness of the reintroduction by updating the Aldabra rail population estimate on Picard 12 years after the translocation and one year after the predicted maximum was expected to be reached. We confirm the predicted carrying capacity on Picard has been reached and probably exceeded; report a reliable survey method for the Aldabra rail, which can be applied to other terrestrial bird species; and recommend subsequent monitoring and conservation management strategies for the Aldabra rail and potentially other species of rail.
|Publication status||Published - 2013|