The Slope to Extinction

There’s a concept in futuristic and speculative fiction that we can take DNA samples of all the living animals on our planet, freeze them or otherwise preserve them, and at the time we find a new planet that is a veritable Garden of Eden, revive and release the Earth inhabitants to the new world. I can think of at least two movies and one book where this concept is key to the story.

Sadly, Earth was once a Garden of Eden and has all that we need for all creatures to thrive. Including humans. We simply need to curb greed and short-sighted actions. Notice I said simply. There is nothing simple about the process, actually. And so it is that we are watching more and more Earthlings slide into extinction.

052817 orange belly

Orange Bellied Parrots are down to 4 hens and 11 males in the wild. Australia’s migrating parrots are down from 21 birds last breeding season. The plan that came up rapidly involved incubators so eggs could be saved as needed, brooders to help weaker chicks, and permanent monitoring of the nests. Money became an urgent issue. Fortunately, funds came in as donations. A group of captive-bred females was released to help balance the ratio and provide more nesting pairs. Foster parents experiments were successful and 20 new beings joined the world flock. The thread of hope is slender, any disaster could mean the end. These parrots never should have been allowed to slide so far down the slope.

052817 grays

For African Grays in Ghana, the good news is that poaching is down and captive breeding is up. The bad news is, poaching has not been wiped out. Since the pet trade is still legal, officials need to get tougher and prevent the quotas to be exceeded. Only 5,000 birds are approved for export, but an estimate says 12,000 to 18,000 are captured and exported annually. No surprise the wild population, already suffering from deforestation, is down from 700 to 1200 birds in a study area 20 years ago to just 18 individuals overall. (Note: Just saw this good news, the ban is in place!

052817 gray breasted parakeets

Not all the news is bad, just the majority of it. Hope comes with word that a new, isolated population of Gray-breasted parakeets was discovered nesting in rocks in 2014. There are only 5 to 15 birds, but it’s a start. A little diversity in the other population is great.

052817 puerto rican amazon

And the Puerto Rican Amazon is growing in population in its natural habitat, thanks to the program that prepares the birds for living in the wild and the release of 16 individuals.

052817 blue front amazon

There is a possibility that parrots who have been released into the wild in places far from their original home as a species could be the best way to save some parrots, short of a frozen zoo put on an ark. Here in my area, birds are released regularly by SoCal Parrot.

052817 crowdfunding

What can a person like you or me do to improve the chances of any of these species or any others you hear about? Donations are always nice. Give time to conservation organizations if you can. Even a membership to your local zoo could support conservation efforts. Stay current on global issues and write to the politicians who need to know that you care about worldwide wildlife issues. Become an advocate for peace in your home, your city, your state, and so on.

052817 in this together

Never buy wild bred parrots. Never buy any items that encourage poaching in any form. And never give up hope that we will find a way to halt the slide to extinction. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.


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