Green Expo 2006
Conservation - land
Conservation - sea
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BARBADOS - endangered
Griffin, who arrived here in February, said her study on birds has been mainly centred around the behaviours of two species: the Carib grackles (blackbirds) and the zenaiba (wood) dove.
She said she was examining the creatures and how they identified and responded to predators, using both the areas around Folkestone Park and the controlled environment of the Bellairs Research Institute of McGill University at Folkestone, St James, as focus points.
Her study, which is looking at the birds’ ability to learn from each other; whether they can be taught different behaviours such as fear; and how they react to alarm calls should wrap up in another month, but Griffin said there were lessons to be learnt from the study.
For example, she said, birds nearing extinction and that are bred in captivity could benefit from such a study. Research had shown that animals bred in captivity had a difficult time surviving once released into the wild.
“I think we can gain fundamental knowledge about animal species out there in the wild and having an intrinsic interest in understanding how these species live.
“There are also applied implications for the extinction crisis as wildlife reintroduction is becoming so very important,” she said.
With this information, one could see whether it was possible to teach the birds which animals to fear as predators and how to seek food, among other survival skills.
“The better our understanding of what things animals find dangerous or don’t find dangerous, and especially how they acquire fear responses, will help us prepare these captive animals for release,” she added.
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