Since he set up home in the British Virgin Islands in the 1970s, Richard Branson has worked tirelessly to restore his idyllic corner of the Caribbean. Now the Virgin mogul has announced he is reintroducing three species of tropical birds to the chain of islands, London’s Daily Mail reports.
Residents of the British Overseas Territory will soon be able to see the flamingo, the scarlet Ibis and the roseate spoonbill for the first time in over 100 years.
Mr Branson made the announcement yesterday on his blog.
Revealing 70 flamingos have already been born in the BVIs in 2012, the tycoon hailed the programme ‘a fantastic success’.
Richard Branson announced a breeding programme is well under way in the Virgin Islands and 70 flamingos have been born there so far this year
The spectacular birds were once commonly found in the islands but modern development and hunting rendered them extinct.
He added: ‘We hope in time to have the same success with the Scarlet Ibis as we have had with the Flamingos, so the British Virgin Islands as a whole can enjoy the beauty of these birds.
‘(The) Ibis, one of the most beautiful birds in the world, is also doing fantastically – we had our first baby born recently.
‘They are completely different colour to their parents, which I suspect is so they are not so noticeable to predators when they are young. They turn the incredible scarlet colour after a couple of years.’
The third species, the roseate rpoonbill, is a wading bird, common in South America and other parts of the Caribbean.
Mr Branson bought Necker in 1979, paying just £150,000 for the 74-acre island.
He spent more than £6 million turning it into a luxury resort, charging guests up to £33,00 day to stay there.
In August 2011, the Island – which sits just 13 miles off the coast of Tortola – was struck by Tropical Storm Irene. A fire broke out burning the Great House to the ground.