Adventures of the Cocos buff-banded rail

The birds are released into their new home

A tagged rail sets off to explore

Thirty-nine rare birds have been transported to a new home on Horsburgh Island as part of an ambitious recovery plan. The endangered Cocos buff-banded rail is found only in Pulu Keeling National Park – a tiny atoll in the Cocos Islands.

We’ve been working with scientists, the local government and community to protect the bird from threats like disease or predators - by establishing a second population on a nearby island.

Landing on Pulu Keeling is almost impossible, so the birds had to be swum out to a waiting boat through breaking surf. The specially-designed transport boxes did the trick and all the birds made the journey unharmed.

They are settling in well so far, and are being carefully monitored with tracking devices. If the birds breed the project will be considered a scientific success.  Developing partnerships and striking out with projects is the first step to effectively conserving our wildlife.

Ismail, Pulu Keeling National Park