Above: Spot the difference – the ITS’s new badge depicting the Prince Ruspoli’s turaco (left)


By Georgina Probert

Following on from the success of its Zanzibar turaco pin badge (see News April 14 2021), the International Turaco Society (ITS) has commissioned a new badge depicting Prince Ruspoli’s turaco (Tauraco ruspolii).

Until the 1940s, this mysterious bird was known only from an unlabelled skin found in the collecting bag of the Italian aristocrat and explorer Prince Eugenio Ruspoli after he was trampled to death by an elephant he tried to shoot in Somalia in 1893.

Previously considered seriously threatened by habitat loss and hybridisation with the white-cheeked turaco (T. leucotis), the Prince Ruspoli’s turaco is found only in a small area in southern Ethiopia and is currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened species.

The ITS has previously supported survey and research projects to establish the status of and threats to this rare species, and has been asked to help fund further work.

David Jones, ITS chairman, said: “The society agreed to help finance a survey in 2021, but this was postponed because of disruption caused by the civil war in Ethiopia. Proceeds from the sale of badges will support the survey, which we hope will now start this year.”

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