Which Parrot Would You Save?

You should know by now that parrots are the most endangered family of birds on the planet. Much of this is due to the pet trade, but much is also due to the destruction of habitat and the introduction of predators likes cats and rats to areas where the parrots had no fear. If you had all the money needed, and all the time and resources to do so, which parrot would you save?

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High on my list is the kakapo, one of the strangest parrots ever to hump a cameraman. Night dwelling, flightless, and huge, it may possibly be one of the oldest species to have evolved. http://kakaporecovery.org.nz/about-kakapo/ Fewer than 125 individuals remain, which makes every egg a special and critical life.

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The Yellow-crested Abbott’s Cockatoo is the world’s rarest parrot. A total of 10 individuals remain on their tiny island in the Java Sea. The Indonesian Parrot Project is working to save them through education and conservation. http://indonesian-parrot-project.org/pdf_files/Can%20YCC%20be%20saved,%20PARROTS,%20Aug,%202013.pdf But inbreeding, disease, and having all the birds in a small vulnerable area are hurdles to overcome. As Mike Reynolds, the Founder of the World Parrot Trust suggested, “If we can save these cockatoos and other birds, perhaps we can also save ourselves.”

Great thought, that we need to save other species to make our own salvation happen.

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I’ve mentioned before that birds with blue feathers become endangered quickly, just as easily tamed birds and smart birds that will talk. Spix macaws are up there in all categories. They are extinct in the wild, and only exist because smart people collected a few and have bred them in captivity. There are close to 100 parrots with which we might bring back the wild populations. Sadly, the attempts are not all successful. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/06/140629-spix-macaw-presley-rio-parrot-brazil-science/

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This candidate is due to a selfish wish on my part. I would love to have one native parrot back in the United States. We eliminated the Carolina parakeet, but the Thick Billed Parrot was just forced out of the country. Populations still exist in northern Mexico. This bird loves high altitudes, eats snow as a water source, and has a call that sounds like human laughter. They are threatened by logging, climate change, and the need for the young to stick with the parents for a full year. Plus, even if the populations increase, there’s nowhere for them to go. http://www.defenders.org/thick-billed-parrot/basic-facts?gclid=Cj0KEQjw75yxBRD78uqEnuG-5vcBEiQAQbaxSK_yQmSvjknwatFhGL-uwdsvfFWIepUPdzoYKZGBp6saAl3U8P8HAQ

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Tasmania’s migratory Orange Bellied Parrot is endangered due to the trip it makes across the straits to South Australia following the breeding season. Fewer than 200 individuals remain, and while Tasmania protects the breeding habitats, the parrots go to Australia every year. The feeding grounds are also protected, officially, but stock grazing the area and rabbits digging burrows have degraded the land. Cats could be a threat as well. Steps are being taken to tag individuals in hopes of keeping populations diverese and counted. There is so much that we can’t control in this situation that a magic wish might be the only solution. http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/?base=5136

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.

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