Purple gallinule, you will survive!
The purple gallinule lives all over Africa, in tropical Asia and in a large part of Oceania. The nominal subspecies (Porphyrio porphyrio porphyrio) is however very rare and concentrated. Its original distribution area included the coastal areas of the central and western Mediterranean. The massive reclaiming of the Mediterranean swamps, combined with the pressure of hunting, have caused this subspecies to slowly disappear.
In this century, the purple gallinule has disappeared from Greece, Portugal, Apulia and Sicily, while the Spanish and Sardinian populations are on the brink of extinction.
A restocking plan is currently under way in Portugal, while the French coasts are being naturally restocked from the Catalan population. The Sicilian restocking plan is part of this project, which involves the slow reconstruction of the European distribution area of the purple gallinule.
The restocking area consists of the wet regions of south-eastern Sicily (provinces of Catania, Siracusa and Caltanisetta). The surviving wet regions are almost all protected by regional reserves and have habitats that are very suitable to this species.
The restocked specimens are donated by the Government of the Spanish Comunidad Valenciana. The first 14 specimens were let into the Riserva del Biviere di Gela (Caltanisetta) on October 7th, 2000. At present, these specimens are carefully monitored and seem to have adjusted fairly well to living in the wild. More specimens are expected to arrive every six months over the last few years. In the meantime, the habitat is being improved to make it easier for the new specimens to survive.