South Africa's leading Birdkeeping Club - Rand Avicultural Society - members specialise in African, Australian, Asiatic and South American Finches and Doves as well as Softbills and Parrots.  
rand avicultural society
Birdkeepers' (aviculturists) Contribution
to Nature Conservation

    The Rand Avicultural Society lists a number of contributions that aviculturists have made to bird conservation projects on a national and international level. For instance:

  1. Under the leadership of Professor Gordon Lindsay MacLean, the authoritative book Robert's Birds of Southern Africa (sixth edition) made use of nesting and incubation data provided by captive bird keeping programmes. This was done when it was not possible to gather information from observations in the wild.

  2. Photographs by some of South Africa's world-renowned avicultural photographers, including Cyril Laubscher, Peter Ouderkerken (both past members of the Rand Avicultural Society before relocating internationally) and Neville Brickell have been supplied to many of the world's leading ornithology publications.

  3. South African avian vets rank amongst the best in the world, thanks largely to the work they have done with highly dedicated bird keepers. Dr David Russell, president of the RAS club, pioneered endoscopic surgery (surgical sexing of birds) in the early 1970's.

  4. South African avian veterinary science and medicine has made major advances as a result of captive bird keeping research work.

  5. Bird keeping clubs often make regular financial contributions to various bird related conservation initiatives.

  6. Many endangered and threatened bird species that have been successfully bred in captivity have been hacked back (released) into the wild, for example:
    i. Mauritian Kestrel
    ii. Pink Pigeon from Mauritius
    iii. Echo Parakeet from Mauritius ( The worlds most succesful parrot rescue programme as identified by the World Parrot Trust )
    iv. Californian Condor
    v. Hawaiian Goose
    vi. The Southern Ground Hornbill etc.

  7. More than 100 threatened species of birds around the world have been or are currently being saved from extinction as a result of captive breeding rescue programmes.

  8. The worlds finest full feature film on birds in flight titled Travelling Birds (Winged Migration), which took four years to produce and was nominated for an Academy award in 2003, used the services of aviculturists to assist with the training of birds for this outstanding production.

  9. Well run zoos and public bird parks help to raise the visibility and awareness of many endangered bird species. Zoos and bird parks often provide members of the public with their first experience of beautiful indigenous South African birds and exotic bird species from around the world.

  10. Gerald Durrell, the world-famous naturalist and founder of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, was probably the first person in the world to embark on a modern day captive breeding programme. He introduced the Red Data book for captive bred fauna and once stated that:



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