99 - Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation

THn JOUnNAL OF
CenrBBEAxOnNrrHoLocY
FoRTHECONSERVATION
BIRDS
SOCIETY
ANDSTUDYoF CARIBBEAN
SoctEDADPARALA CoNssnvacröN y EsruDto on les AvEs CenreeNes
AssocrATroNpouR LA CoNsgnvlrroN ET L' ETUDEDESOISEAUXDE LA CARAIBE
2008
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ASrAncA)rN THELESSERANru-ss. Niels J.
Lttrsenand Anthony Levesque
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DE AVESACUÄTTcesPARAISLAog MARCARTTA.
NwvOS REGISTROS
VENEZUELl'.
Luis
G. Gonztilez8., Gedio C. Marfn E., Luis G. GonzdlezA., y RaymundoL. GonzdlezA.
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STEPS
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Bradley and Jennifur Wheeler
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Nicole Leotaud
..TRAINING
ANDROUND-TABLE
REPORT
OFTHESyITpOSTUU
DISCUSSION
NEEDSeNo OppoRTTTNITnS
roR Pnorecren AneRS MANAGEMENI".Nadra Nathai-Gyan and Lisa Sorenson
REpoRToF THERorNo-TnerE DrscussroN"OncANzrNc GRASSRoOTS
CAMpATcNS
ro Oppose
PROJECTS
ruRr TuRgetENBtRo HABITAT".AndrewDobsonand BonnieRusk............
R,eponroF THE..SecorvoWrsreRN HEMISPHERE
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CelisMurillo and Maria IsabelMoreno ..................
ENDEMTc
REpoRToF rHE CARTBBEAN
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R,EPORT
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PIGEON(PATAGIqENAS
LEUC)CEPHAI"A)
WORKD{CGROup.
Brqndon
REpoRToF THEINvnswg SPECESWoRrwc GRoup. Andrew Dobson and Sarah Sanders
CorvseRvnroN PRorr,cr REPORT
cyANocEpHALA)
AS
PRoyECToPAIZ: ruB ENoeNceREo BLUE-FmADED
QUAI--DovE (STARNoENAS
AN UMBRELLRSppctps FoR BIRD CoNSERVATIoNttlt CuBe. Simon Bruslund Jensen,Juan Pedro
Soy,Orlando Alfunso,Amrita Deb, and Guntram G. Meier
BooK REVIEW
A NATURALTST
BR.DS,BpRsrs & BuRE.q.ucRATS:
oN e CenmeEANISLAND.John Faaborg
Revmwrns oF VoLrrME2l ................
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J. Carib.Ornithol.21:I l5-l 18,2008
CONSERVATION PROJECT REPORT
PROYECTOPAIZ: THE ENDANGERED BLUE-HEADED QUAIL-DOVE (STARNOENAS
CYANOCEPHALA)AS AN UMBRELLA SPECIESFOR BIRD CONSERVATIONIN CUBA
SrvoN BnusluND JENSENT,
JueN Penno Soy2,OnLeNDoALFoNSO3,
Arrlnlra Dggr,
aNo Gwrnnv G. Meten4
'Al \fabra WildlifePreservation,
P.O.Box44069,Al Shohaniyah,
Stateof Qatar;e-mail:
at\,n)[email protected];'Ave.
42 No. 514 esq.a 7", Miramar, Playa, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba;
ac/o
e-mail:[email protected];tENPFF. Villa Clara, e-mail'[email protected]:
InGrip-Consulting,
Hausburgstr.24, D 10249Berlin, Germany,e-mail: [email protected]
CuaR quRlrnEs as one of the world's top hotspotsfor biodiversitywith a high rate of endemism,
but it is under increasingpressuredemandingurgent
conservation action (Mittermeier et al. 1999,
Niekisch and Wezel 2003, Vales et al. 1998).The
entire island of Cuba is regardedas an Endemic
Bird Area (EBA), definedas an areaof specialconservationconcern and importance(Birdlife International 2003). Currentlyonly about 15Yoof Cuba's
Iandscape
remainsuninfluencedby humanactivities
due to a long history of human impact on Cuba's
rich biological resources.Hunting and animal trapping have long beenpopularand have severelyimpactedmany bird species,a notableexamplebeing
the Cuban Red Macaw (Ara tricolor; Robiller and
Grimm 2006). Invasive speciessuch as rats (Rattus
spp.), followed by the intentional introductionof
Javanmongoose(Herpestesjavanicus)as a predator
for their control have, in combinationwith feral
dogs(Canis lupusfamiliarrs), cats (Felis catus), and,
pigs (Sas domestica),proved to be a serious threat
to native ecosystemsand susceptibleendemics
(Woodsand Sergile2001).
Cuba is home to 12 different speciesof pigeons
and doves (order Columbiformes),of which two
otherthanthe Blue headedQuail-Dove(Starnoenas
cyanocephala)are endemicto a certain degree.The
Gray-fronted Quail-Dove (Geotrygon caniceps) is
classified as vulnerable (Birdlife International
2009) and it is partially sympatricwith the BlueheadedQuail-Dove;the two subspecies
fiom Cuba
(G. c. caniceps)and Hispaniola (G. c. leucometopius) may be separate species (Garcido et al.
2002). The Plain Pigeon (Patagioenasinornata) is
currently classified as near threatened;the Cuban
populationof the subspecies
(P. i. inornata)is nearly endangeredand in need of attention(Wege and
Anadön-Irizarry2005). The paucity of literature
Journal of CaribbeanOrnitholog,t2l(2),2008
regardingthe biology ofthese speciesindicatesthat
all three specieswill undoubtedlybenefit from research into the Blue-headedQuail-Dove and its
habitat.
The Blue-headedQuail-Doveis a terrestrialdove
that is endemicto Cuba.Althoughthe species(with
colour variations) was reported on Key West by
John JamesAudubon in 1834,and later confirmed
by Ganido (2005),the speciesappearsto havesince
disappearedcompletelyfrom this island (Gibbs et
al. 2001). With tlpical Geotrygon facial markings,
it possesses
a unique feature in the black, whiteborderedbreastbib which, togetherwith the hexagonalscaleson the front of its legs as well as the
fact that it lays white eggs (as opposedto buff colouredeggslaid by Geotrygondoves;Ganido 1986),
is sufficientto justify retainingit in an independent
monotypicgenus.The striking similaritiesin colour
betweenthis speciesand the nationalflag of Cuba
provides an added advantageto its selectionas a
flagship speciesfor ground-doveconservation.
The Blue-headed
Quail-Doveis a residentspecies
with limited dispersal,and is often found in the undergrowth of forestsand sometimesswamps,where
it spendsthe majority of its time on the forestfloor
in searchof food. It prefers to walk rather than fly,
often choosing to run rather than take flight when
fleeing. Its food consistsmainly of seedsand berries; it probablyalso eat small invertebrates
as well
as seedsfrom agriculturalcrops(Gibbset al.2001).
The birds occurmostly in pairs,but often a single
bird is seenand occasionallylargercongregations
of
up to 15 birds appearat water holes,a sight that is
now exceedinglyrare.Breedingis reportedto occur
from April to June(Ganido and Kirkconnell2000).
The maleperformsits territorialcall, a simple"huuup" or "whooo-up,"which is repeatedevery3-4 sec
at intervalsthroughoutthe day. Calls are given from
115
ETAL.- PRoyECToPAIZ:-SrtnuogN,ts cy,tNcocEpHAzlrN Cuse
JENSEN
the groundor a low perch.In the courtshipdisplay,
the male bows for the female,moving its head up
and down, and may also lift its tail and spreadits
wings. At the sametime a deep"cooo" or rumbling
"bmooh" canbe heard(Gibbset al. 2001, Goodwin
1983, Soy pers. comm.). The nest is placed low,
often poorly concealedon a tree stump,a low bush,
or on an epiphyte, and one or two distinctive white
eggsare laid.
Key threatsidentified in the past include hunting,
with the tasty meat of the speciescombinedwith the
relative easewith which it can be trapped,making it
a preferredtarget. It is also vulnerableto predation
by introducedand feral predatorssuch as the mongooseand feral domestic cat. Finally, development
of pristine lowland scrub forest for agriculture and
an increasingincidenceof hurricanesin the region
compound existing threats (Birdlife International
2009). Becauseonly an estimated1000-2500birds
are thought to exist and the population is thought to
be declining,it is officially redlisted as endangered
and protected by law throughout Cuba (Birdlife
International2009). However, resourcesare often
lacking to effectivelyenforcethe laws. No captive
populations are known to exist anywhere in the
world.
PROYECTO
PAIZ
The project's title, ProyectoPAIZ, was chosen
becauseit refers to birds called PalomaPerdiz in
Spanish and also resemblesthe Spanish term for
"land" or "country" ("pais"). ProyectoPAIZ is a
national project of Cuba with the participation and
exclusive funding from international partners such
as the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation(AWWP) of
the Stateof Qatar, and technicalcooperationwith
the ZoologicalSocietyfor the Conservationof Species and Populations(ZGAP) in Germany.Proyecto
PAIZ is officially administeredin Havana through
the national office of the EmpressaNacional parala
Proteccidnde la Floray la Fauna(ENPFF).
ProyectoPAIZ aims to conservethe Blue-headed
Quail-Dove through both in situ and,ex silz methods
in protected areas within its natural range. An
awareness
campaignfor the peopleof Cuba aspires
to use the familiarity and uniquenessof the BlueheadedQuail Dove to createa "flagshipspecies,"an
icon that will representthe other less charismatic
ground-dovesand other sympatricspecieswithin its
habitat.The fact that the speciesis monotypic for its
genusaugmentsits statusas a conservation
priority.
Proyecto PAIZ initially concentratesboth in situ
work and an educational program in the Cuban
116
provinceof Villa Clara,eastof the province'scapital Santa Clara in the protected area Sabanasde
Santa Clara. The site is officially classifiedas a
"ReservaFloristica Manejada" (RMF), corresponding to the IUCN category IV (biotope-reservewith
strict conservation management).The area has a
size of 7.237 ha. since 1986 it has been administered by the ENPFF. The reserve receives around
2000 visitorsannuallyas part of environmentaleducation programmescarried out by the ENPFF in
surrounding schools, local councils, and nature
clubs. The province also has 32 educationalunits
which regularly visit such reservesfor training
coursesand workshops.A 500 m buffer zone surroundsthe protectedareaand some smaller villages
occur on the outskirts. In the Sabanasde Santa
Clara reserve, 157 speciesof animals have been
recorded, including the Blue-headedQuail-Dove
(O. Alfonso unpubl.data).The total numberof plant
however,at
speciesis currentlyunder assessment;
least 14 speciesof plants are endemic,hencethe
designationas a RFM. The existenceof threedams
and reservoirs in the area and their impact on the
surrounding ecosystemremains to be ascertained,
but the most immediate threat to the wildlife remains invasive species,especially the abundant
mongoose,believedto be the major invasivepredator, with feral dogs and cats playing a minor role.
Some degree of firewood gathering, although prohibited, exists. Nine rangers employed by the
ENPFF patrol the protectedareaand are assistedby
an additional five wardens from the special antilogging task force of the Interior Ministry-the
"Cuerpode GuardaBosques."Hunting is also prohibitedand virtually non-existentdue to the vigilant
patrol as well as being limited to firearms in the
region, but some trapping using snareshas been
reported(G. Meier and O. Alfonsopers.obs.).
GOALSoF THEPROJECT
Proyecto PAIZ has three goals. The first is the
establishment
of a captivepopulationof the BlueheadedQuail-Doveand potentiallytwo othernatrve
dove speciesfor conservationbreeding.The captive
breeding facility, with inbuilt aviaries,a kitchen,
offrces, and an educationalfacility, is currently under renovationat the site ofold dilapidatedaviaries
within the Sabanasde SantaClara. Additional facilities to ensureelectricityand water supply have
also been constructed.The purposesof the captive
breeding component are manifold. Although the
current data on status,numbers, and threats to the
speciesare inadequateto determine how urgent or
Journal of CaribbeanOrnithology 21(2),2008
JENSENET AL. -
PROYECT}PAIZ: STInuonuIs CYANC)CEPHALIIN CugR
significantcaptivebreedingwill be for speciesrecovery, the managementand breeding in captivity
of a small number of birds will always act as a
safety net and a resource for researchinto many
aspectsof the speciesthat will be impossibleto
study in the wild. In addition, captivebred birds will
play a dual role as ambassadors,given the fact that
due to the rarity and elusive nature of these birds,
few peoplein Cuba have actuallyseenthem in the
wild. It is hopedthat by makingpeopleawareof the
presenceand threats to this attractive and exceptional endemic, the direct pressureby hunting and
otherhumanactivitieswill be reduced.
In February 2007, a group of six birds (three
males and three females) was confiscated from a
farmer in the Villa Clara Province who had kept the
birds illegally in substandardconditions. These
birds providedthe nucleusofthe captivepopulation
and an important educationaland researchtool for
the project. Blue-headedQuail-Doves were formerly kept in aviculture in Europeand North America in the last century but now seem to have vanished from aviaries, at least outside of Cuba
(InternationalSpeciesInformation System report
from 1993; S. Bruslund and G. Meier pers. obs.).
They are reportedto have been fairly easyto breed.
It is unclearjust when the Blue-headedQuail-Dove
from captivityoutsideofCuba, but it is
disappeared
likely that someof the last birds wheredisplayedin
zoosin the beginningofthe 1980s.The specieswas
formerlyeommonin exportsand fairly inexpensive;
thus,little effort was takento breedthesebirds and
to avoid inbreeding(Rutgersand Norris 1970,Jensenpers.obs.).
The secondgoal is to conductin situ researchon
the ecology,abundance,distribution,and threatsof
the species.The in sila componentof the project
will be integratedinto ongoing field studiesby the
ENPFFwithin the protectedareasas well as special
excursionsto investigateand verifu other localities
where the Blue-headedQuail-Dove occurs. The
main objectiveis to provide reliableand consistent
datato verify conservationstatusofthe speciesand
map the distributionand dispersalof populationsin
the wild. The floral biodiversity,characteristics,
and
local conditionsof areasconfirmed to host quaildoves will be comparedwith habitatswhere the
birds are absent.The main objectiveof this is to
identify the threatsand conditionsresponsiblefor
populationdeclines.Similarly, populationswill be
monitored in order to identify existing threatsto the
speciessurvival.As the projecthasbeeninitiatedin
the Villa Clara Province,the current strategyis to
Journal of CaribbeanOrnithology2l(2),2008
developeffectivemethodologiesfor censusingand
monitoring that can then be replicatedin the rest of
the country.
Once threatsto the specieshave been identified,
additionalconservationmeasuresmay be initiated,
such as reforestationof certain areas,establishing
corridorsof native vegetationfor reconnectingisolatedquail-dovepopulationswithin a predominantly
agricultural environment,and eradicatingor perrnanently controllinginvasivepredators,to ensurethe
best use of resourcestowards effective sDeciesrecovery.
The third goal is to createan awarenessprogram
for endangeredground-dovesusing the Blue-headed
Quail-Dove as a "flagship" species.The ENPFF
emphasises
environmentaleducationwith an active
educationunit that visits schools.universities.nature clubs,and local councilsin eachprovince.Although there is no structuredagendafor theseprograms,the tools usedincludepresentations,
competitions,and eventheatre-designed
with the intentof
promoting the importanceof natural habitatsand
wildlife. By providing materialsfor theseeducation
programs, Proyecto PAIZ aims to work through
these existing channelsto disseminateawareness
about the plight of the Blue-headedQuail-Dovein
Cuba and to promote a senseof ownershipto stakeholdersin local communitieswhere the doves occur. Simulationof the naturalhabitat of the dovesin
the breeding centre exhibits will provide information aboutthe speciesand its habitat.
CoNcLUSIoNS
ProyectoPAIZ is truly an internationalcollaborative effort and the enthusiasm,experience,and commitment of the ENPFF and Governmentof Cuba
toward nature conservation,in spite of inconceivable economicdifficulties,is commendable.Funding for the initial phasehas alreadybeen provided
by the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservationand constructionwork is almostcomplete.The recentofficial registrationof the project under Cuban law
makes Prciyecto PAIZ a pioneering international
effort in Cubanbird conservation.
The Al WabraWildlife Preservationhas madean
initial commitment to Proyecto PAIZ for 3 yr. Althoughthe broaderaims ofthe projectare intended
toward securingthe long-term future of the species
in Cuba,the initial successof the pilot projectin the
Sabanasde Santa Clara nature reserve and in the
provinceof Villa Clara will determinethe potential
for future developmentand duration of the project.
It is expectedthat birds will breed successfullyin
1t7
JENSENET AL. -
PROYECToPAIZ: STARN)ENASCYANC)CEPHAa IN CUBA
the breeding centre, creating a natural resourcefor
expandingthe project to other regions, which may
reduce the potential impacts of hurricanes or fire.
As a first step, the acquisition of birds for the captive breeding programme, the sexing (using microsatelliteDNA analysis)and captive management
of these birds, and the developmentof an in situ
researchstudy are already underway in Cuba and
the three project partners are optimistic about the
further developmentof this project into a wider conservation prograrnme with the Blue-headodQuailDove as a flagshipspecies.
LneneruRr Crtn,o
BIRDLTFE
INreRNertoNAL.2003. Birdlife's online
World Bird Database:the site for bird conservation 2.0. Birdlife International, Cambridge, UK.
Availableat www.birdlife.org.
BIRDLIFEINtenNRttoNAL.2009. Speciesfactsheet:
Starnoenas cyanocephala. Birdlife Intemational,
Cambridge,UK. Availableat www.birdlife.org.
GARRIDo,O. H. 1986.Las palomas.EditorialCientifico-Tdcnica,Ciudadde La Habana.
GARRIDo,O. H. 2005. Statusof the Blue-headed
Quail-Dove Starnoenas cyanocephala (Aves:
Columbiformes)at Key West,Florida.Solenodon
2005:79-90.
O. H., aNo A. KnrccowNelr-.2000.Birds
GARRTDo
of Cuba,ChristopherHelm Publ. , London, UK
G. M.. eNo D. R.
Gnnnno. O. H.. G. M. KTRWAN
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Ceppen.2002. Specieslimits within Grey-headed
Quail-Dove Geotrygoncanicpesand implications
for the conservationofa globally threatenedspeInternational12:169-187.
cies.Bird Conservation
ANDJ. Cox. 2001.Pigeons
GreesD., E. BARNES,
and doves: a guide to the pigeons and doves of
the world. PicaPress,Sussex,UK.
GooowtN D. 1983.Pigeonsand dovesof the world.
3rd ed. CornellUniversityPress,Ithaca,NY.
MITrgnrrIeIEn,R, 4., N. MYERS,C. G. MITTERMETER,AND P. RoBLESGn. 1999. Hotspots:
Earth'sbiologicallyrichestand most endangered
terrestrialecoregions.
CEMEX S. A., Mexico DF.
in
NrEKrscHM. & Wezal A. 2003. Schutzgebiete
Kuba - Entwicklungen und Probleme,Natur und
Landschaft
78:360-366.
2006. Der
RoBILLER, F., AND H. Gnuv,
Dreifarbenara,GefiederteW elt 130:242-244.
Rurcens, A., AND K. A. NoRRrs.1970. Encyclopaedia of aviculture. Vol. l. Blandford Press,
Poole,Dorset,UK.
VALES,M., A. ALVAREZ,L. MONTES,
ANDA. AVI.
LA (EDS.).1998.Estudionacionalsobrela diversidadbiolögiaen la republicade Cuba.LaHabana, Cuba.
(EDS.).2001.
WooDS,C. 4., AND F. E. SERGTLE
Biogeography of the West Indies: patterns and
perspectives.2nd ed. CRC Press,Boca Raton,
FL.
Journal of CaribbeanOrnithology 21(2), 2008
THB JOUnNAL OF
CrnrBBEAxOnNrrHoLocY
aNo Sruov oF CARIBBEAN
BrRDS
Socrlry FoRTHECoNsgRverroN
y EsruDIopn r-RsAves CnnrseN,As
SocreonopARALACoNsenvecröN
DELA CARAIBE
AssoctATIoNpouRLA CoNsenvRrroNETL' ETUDEDESOTSEAUX
2008
Vol. 21,No.2
Socrnrv FoRTHECoNsnnvarroNANDSruny or Ca,RrnnnlNBrnus
The Societyfor the Conservationand Study of CaribbeanBirds (SCSCB) is the largestsingle regionalorganization committed to the conservationof wild birds and their habitatsin the greaterCaribbeanregion, including Bermuda, the Bahamas,and all islands within the Caribbeanbasin.The overarchingobjective of the SCSCB is to increasethe ability of Caribbeanornithologists,resourcemanagers,conservationorganizations,institutions,and local citizensto conservethe birds of the Caribbeanand their habitats.We aim to achievethis by (l) developingregional conservationprojects,activities,and materialsthat facilitate local conservation,management,and research,
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is availableat the society's website:www.scscb.org.
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The SCSCB publishesThe Journalof CaribbeanOrnithology, a refereedjournal publishing articles,notes,commentaries,book reviews, and announcements
on all aspectsof avian biology within the Caribbeanregion. Contributions are welcome in either English, Spanish,or French.Since the journal's humble inception as El Pitine, the
society's newsletter,in 1988,JamesW. Wiley single-handedlyedited l7 volumes of the journal, which gradually
increasedin quantity and quality over the years as it transformedinto a reputable scientific journal. In 2003
(volume l6) the journal's name changedto The Journal of CaribbeanOrnithology to better reflect the journal's
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SocrETYOmcr,ns
President:
Vice-President:
Secretary:
Treasurer:
Past-President:
Mr. Andrew Dobson
Dr. Lisa Sorenson
Dr. Ann HaynesSutton
Dr. RosemarieGnam
Mr. Eric Carey
Journal Editor:
Members at lttrge:
Dr. Floyd Hayes
Mr. Anthony Levesque
Dr. LourdesMugica
Mr. JosephProsper
Mme. FlorenceSergile
Mrs. Carolyn Wardle