Translocation of european captive pink pigeons Nesoenas mayeri to Mauritius: disease risk analysis for production of a pre-export quarantine protocol
Keywords:Columbiformes, disease risk assessment, Nesoenas mayeri, pre-export protocol, pink pigeon, quarantine, translocation
The Mauritian pink pigeon Nesoenas mayeri is at risk of extinction; only 470 birds remain in the free-living population. Being a recovered bottleneck species, this population suffers from genetic loss and inbreeding depression. Genetic variation in the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Ex situ Programme (EEP) population is absent from free-living birds. EEP birds will be translocated to the captive breeding colony in Mauritius for genetic rescue. A disease risk analysis for this translocation was performed, following a four-step process outlined in International Union for Conservation of Nature guidelines: 1) problem description, 2) hazard identification, 3) risk assessment and 4) risk management. Potential pathogens were assessed and categorised as low, medium or high risk. Twenty-one pathogens were medium or high risk to the pink pigeon population, requiring risk mitigation strategies. Some pathogens were considered a risk to the poultry industry or endemic wild birds. A pre-export quarantine protocol was created which includes mitigation strategies to reduce these pathogens’ risk rating to low. Recommendations include 30 days quarantine; general clinical examination and visual inspection for ectoparasites and pigeon pox lesions; radiography; blood sampling, cloacal swabbing, pharyngeal swabbing, faecal sampling and crop swabbing for various pathogens; and prophylactic endoparasite and ectoparasite treatment. Due to potential impacts on poultry and endemic wild birds, additional testing for avian influenza, Newcastle disease (avian paramyxovirus-1) and Mycoplasma spp. should be considered. This protocol can guide future EEP pink pigeon translocations to Mauritius.
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