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433 Images, Last upload Jul 1, 2015
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The Socorro Dove lived happily, being isolated on an island in the Gulf of Mexico, until settlers arrived.
There is marked behavioral difference between the Socorro Dove and the widespread Mourning Dove. When Andrew Jackson Grayson discovered the species, he called it the "Solitary Dove" because he never saw more than one male and one female together. The doves, particularly the adult males, chase away their young as soon as these can fend for their own and the partners split for the time being. This too, is believed to be an adaptation to the former dominance of aerial predators, lest local concentrations of birds, let alone young, unexperienced ones, would present easy targets for the hawks. Typical of many birds on mammal-less islands, Socorro Doves show little fear of humans or, fatally, cats.
The decline and extinction in the wild of this Dove has been attributed chiefly to predation by domestic cats, brought in by settlers. The species was declared officially extinct in the wild in 1972.
Before it's extinction in the wild, several doves were added to Zoo collections around the world.
On October 30, 2006, the first Socorro Dove was successfully bred at London Zoo. The bird was named "Arnie", after Arnold Schwarzenegger, with reference to his famous line "I'll be back" (on Socorro Island). However when Arnie was sexed he turned out to be a she. It is hoped that the descendants of Arnie and her relatives can someday soon be reintroduced into the wild.
Rendered in Poser 2012 without post work. Models: Mil Cat (DAZ), Socorro Dove, Manakins, Grass and Terrain (Me)
- December 5, 2012
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