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Hygiene and biosecurity protocols reduce infection prevalence but do not improve fledging success in an endangered parrot

Fogell, Deborah J., Groombridge, Jim J., Tollington, Simon, Canessa, Stefano, Henshaw, Sion, Zuel, Nicolas, Jones, Carl G., Greenwood, Andrew, Ewen, John G. (2019) Hygiene and biosecurity protocols reduce infection prevalence but do not improve fledging success in an endangered parrot. Scientific Reports, . E-ISSN 2045-2322. (doi:10.1038/s41598-019-41323-w) (KAR id:73072)


Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs) are recognised as global extinction drivers of threatened species. Unfortunately, biodiversity managers have few tested solutions to manage them when often the desperate need for solutions necessitates a response. Here we test in situ biosecurity protocols to assess the efficacy of managing Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), one of the most common and emergent viral diseases in wild parrots (Psittaciformes) that is currently affecting numerous threatened species globally. In response to an outbreak of PBFD in Mauritius “echo” parakeets (Psittacula eques), managers implemented a set of biosecurity protocols to limit transmission and impact of Beak and feather disease virus (BFDV). Here we used a reciprocal design experiment on the wild population to test whether BFDV management reduced viral prevalence and viral load, and improved nestling body condition and fledge success. Whilst management reduced the probability of nestling infection by approximately 11% there was no observed impact on BFDV load and nestling body condition. In contrast to expectations there was lower fledge success in nests with added BFDV biosecurity (83% in untreated vs. 79% in treated nests). Our results clearly illustrate that management for wildlife conservation should be critically evaluated through targeted monitoring and experimental manipulation, and this evaluation should always focus on the fundamental objective of conservation.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1038/s41598-019-41323-w
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Jim Groombridge
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2019 13:17 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2022 22:09 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Fogell, Deborah J..

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Groombridge, Jim J..

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Tollington, Simon.

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