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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- South African avian veterinary science and medicine has made
major advances as a result of captive bird keeping research work.
- Bird keeping clubs often make regular financial contributions
to various bird related conservation initiatives.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
AVICULTURE HAD BEEN AROUND IN CIRCA 1640 THEN THE DODO MAY HAVE
BEEN AROUND TODAY."