The Bird Department are very sorry to report the death of Mr Brown, the last echo parakeet residing outside of Mauritius. He lived in the park for sixteen years and had celebrated his twenty-first birthday several weeks ago.
Mr Brown was hugely popular with visitors and keepers alike; not only for his aesthetics but also for his tame, vivacious nature and amazing vocal repertoire.
Mr Brown came to Durrell in 2000, as one of six parakeets imported from the wildlife sanctuary in Mauritius. Three of these birds were then exported to Paradise Park, England due to a skew in sex ratio that resulted in a surplus of males that while incredibly precious, weren’t needed in the in situ breeding programme.
The remaining males were used primarily as part of an educational exhibit. As the years went by, Odei and Anaia passed away leaving one last living ambassador, ‘Mr Brown’, to tell the Mauritius story.
During this time, back in Mauritius, intensive efforts to restore the parakeet population were paying off (at its worst the population was down to 8-12 individuals). A number of conservation management techniques including habitat protection and restoration, nest box provision and supplementary feeding were all undertaken; meaning that when Mr Brown died last week, he left a world where the total wild population had grown to an outstanding 600-700 birds.