Reintroducing flamingos in the British Virgin Islands

There are few things I enjoy more than waking up in the morning, looking up to the skies and seeing a flamboyance of flamingos flying past. But until very recently, flamingos didn’t exist in this part of the world.

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I spend a lot of my life working on animal conservation. One cause very close to my heart is trying to reintroduce species that have previously disappeared from British Virgin Islands. Many of you will know about our conservations efforts with lemurs on Necker Island, which continue to thrive here in the BVI. But our efforts with flamingos may be less well known.

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Flamingos used to be widespread in the British Virgin Islands, but were wiped out more than a century ago. About a decade ago we bought 30 flamingos in to Necker, and they absolutely love the environment here. However, getting reintroduced species to breed can be tough.

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We waited six years and did everything we could to create the right surroundings to encourage them to breed. Finally, we had one little baby. Now we have about 150 baby flamingos every year.

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After this success, we decided to reintroduce flamingos to Moskito Island two years ago. Walking past the pond the other day, I spotted what the first flamingo nest on the island. While they haven’t been seen mating yet, it took six years for the flamingos to build a nest on Necker – so a nest within two years is very exciting.

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Al lot of species are disappearing elsewhere in the world, which is why we work with partners like WildAid to promote animal conservation. Many of these live on land, but many more are in peril under the ocean, which is why we incubated Ocean Unite and I am a member of the Ocean Elders. Anything we can do to support the health and growth of all species should be encouraged.

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