The incidence of the parasitic disease trichomoniasis and its treatment in reintroduced and wild Pink Pigeons Columba mayeri
The recovery programme for the endangered Pink Pigeon Columba mayeri Prévost, 1843 of Mauritius has involved intensive management to promote rapid population growth. As the Pink Pigeon population has increased in size and distribution, disease problems have emerged that have affected wild and reintroduced birds. Trichomoniasis first appeared in the remnant wild population in 1992, and became established in a reintroduced subpopulation on the offshore island of Ile aux Aigrettes. We aimed to control the disease by treating individuals and, on Ile aux Aigrettes, by routinely treating the population with medicated drinking water. On Ile aux Aigrettes, 49% of squabs were clinically diseased and only 27% of all squabs survived without treatment. Treatment of squabs that were not clinically diseased improved survival from 36 to 82%, suggesting that subclinical infections also affected survival. Subclinical infections were demonstrated by microscopy in 22% of Pink Pigeons and 17% of exotic doves on Ile aux Aigrettes. Clinical disease was observed in 4.5% of adults and 3.1% of juveniles, but more juveniles than adults died from the disease. It is likely that Trichomoniasis and other diseases will continue to affect the Pink Pigeon's recovery and the species may require long-term management to counteract the effects of disease and other limiting factors.
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