This study examined a suite of microsatellite markers, originally developed for other parrot species, for their usefulness in providing details about the amount of genetic variation that has been retained in the endangered echo parakeet of Mauritius. Biological samples were available from previous studies and management activities. Four microsatellite markers, originally developed for the African grey parrot, were characterized for use in the echo parakeet. Given its recent population bottleneck, a relatively high level of genetic diversity has been retained in the wild population (HO = 0.57). The genetic data are examined for their value in the conservation management of this species, both captive and wild. A number of conservation and breeding management issues are highlighted which warrant further investigation, for example in selecting captive breeding pairs and bachelor males for public display. Whilst four mircosatellite loci can only provide a limited insight, they do provide useful information relating to the remaining echo parakeet population and highlight that further genetic studies would prove invaluable to the conservation management of this species.
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Vol. 45 • No. 2