The Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme may have been quiet on the blog front for the last two years or so, but let me assure you Durrell and the MCRP have been busy plotting and scheming – and now we’re finally back in Montserrat!

The captive populations have been busy doing their part for their species; several generations of offspring have been born successfully in captivity at our partner institutes overseas – including Jersey, Chester and London Zoos. It will be these individuals making their intrepid return to Montserrat later in the project.

This time we’re gearing up for our fourth reintroduction, the process for which has built upon the lessons learned from the successes and challenges of the previous projects; expect more details to follow! I think it’s safe to say that with these lessons learned and the combined knowledge of our partners, the mountain chicken now stands its best chance in nine years to return home to beautiful Montserrat.

Let me take this time now to introduce myself. I’m Luke Jones, the new Research Assistant on the project. Over the next few months you should
be expecting to hear a lot from us! There will be plenty of familiar faces: project veterans such as Lloydie, Blacker, Scriber, Jeff and Mike are all set to return, along with new young guns such as myself and Tavis. We will all be contributing to creating an environment where the tides are turned for the mountain chicken.

Our focus is going to be on making sure the chytrid fungus, which is the main threat to the mountain chickens, really struggles to survive in the environment we are managing. Controlling the fungus should allow the mountain chicken to thrive and begin reclaiming their old territory. This builds on Mike’s vision outlined in his PhD and is one of the best chances the species has had to date to thrive once again on the island.

We’ve picked up the baton again… now its time to run!


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