Back in 2012, two pairs of Luzon bleeding-hearts arrived at Jurong Bird Park from the Avilon Zoo in Philippines. Eight years later, 10 descendants of the original birds, have made their way back to their native country with hopes of reintroducing them to the wild.
Luzon Bleeding-hearts – Ground-dwelling Doves
The Luzon bleeding-hearts are ground doves, named for its distinctive plumage which has a bright red spot in the centre of its white breast.
The shy ground dweller’s native range includes the rainforests of central and southern Luzon, and the neighbouring Polillo Islands.
The original set of birds arrived at Jurong Bird Park as part of a conservation breeding agreement between Jurong Bird Park, Avilon Zoo and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines.
The birds are listed as near threatened under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species, a result of habitat loss and poaching.
Since 2012, a total of 60 birds have been successfully bred in Singapore. They have been housed within Jurong Bird Park’s Wings of Asia aviary.
Journey Home to Philippines
Jurong Bird Park’s repatriation flight for the 10 Luzon bleeding-hearts is significant as this is the first time a zoological institution outside of the Philippines that is part of a breeding programme is sending successful offspring of the Luzon bleeding-hearts back to their native country.
The 10 Luzon bleeding-hearts made the four-hour flight from Singapore to the Philippines on 20 August 2020 morning after completing a mandatory month-long quarantine and series of health checks to ensure that they are in the pink of health.
His Excellency Joseph del Mar Yap, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to Singapore, was present at Jurong Bird Park on 19 August 2020 to mark the handover of the birds to the Philippines.
In Manila, the birds will undergo another month-long quarantine before the Department of Environment and Natural Resources determines a release of the birds to a protected area on the island of Luzon.
“This repatriation demonstrates the critical role that zoological institutions play in the conservation of threatened species, and we are proud to play our part. Under human care, we provide the animals with a safe environment, alongside high standards of care, welfare and world-class healthcare, to establish and propagate assurance colonies. The ultimate goal is to be able to help strengthen populations in the wild when there is a need for it and this is just the beginning because we hope there will be many more reintroductions to come,” said Dr Luis Neves, Director of Zoology at Wildlife Reserves Singapore.