Fruit doves are inspiring us by their colourful appearance and their peaceful character. In aviculture, given adequate conditions are provided, they feature longevity and high fecundity.
But the populations of these magnificient birds, which are often not recognized as pigeons by laymen due their colourful plumage, are threatened by the destruction of the habitats in their countries of origin. As primarily rainforest-dwelling birds fruit doves are severely affected by the rapid rate of destruction of this ecosystem. This especially affects species with a distribution restricted to a single or a few islands.
In captivity significants stocks of various fruit dove species are kept at dedicated private breeders' and in zoological gardens. These need to be preserved and extended in a responsible way!
To pursue this aim interested private breeders, zoos and bird parks founded the European Fruit Dove Project at Walsrode Bird Park in spring 2007. The project primarily comprehends species of the genera Ptilinopus, Ducula and Treron, but also the rarely-kept genera Alectroenas, Gymnophaps, Megaloprepia, Phapitreron and Ramphiculus.
The European Fruit Dove Project aims to ensure and improve the exchange of experience and information on husbandry and breeding. Besides sharing data on the present fruit dove stocks and assuring the exchange of birds between the holders is one of the most important functions. Surplus specimens are preferably conveyed to other experienced holders within the project. Thereby a network of interested breeders and zoos to the benefit of all members is created.
Twice a year a project meeting takes place in a participating zoological institution, which provides the opportunity for direct exchange of information and doves. Apart from that project members or guests give speeches about fruit-dove-related matters.
The partnership of zoological gardens and dedicated private breeders is the most important feature and core of the project. Both sides can enormously benefit from each other. Last but not least the project also tries to expand the gene pool of the European captive populations by efforts to organise imports of unrelated specimens.
Major milestones were the establishment of viable populations of the Orange-fronted fruit dove (Ptilinopus aurantiifrons) and the Yellow-breasted fruit dove (Ramphiculus occipitalis) starting from a tiny and no population respectively.
If you are interested to participate, please contact the project's coordination.