Australian conservationists are going to release 13 Orange-bellied Parrots to the wild

November 16th, 2015 | by LubosTomiska
Australian conservationists are going to release 13 Orange-bellied Parrots to the wild
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The Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) is currently one of the most endangered parrots in the world. According to Birdlife, Int. there are no more than 50 individuals left in the wild. However, this species is also kept and bred in several Australian facilities which make future of this Neophema parrot hopeful. Australian biologists and conservationists decided to release 13 Orange-bellied parrots to the wild and reinforce the population at the only existing nesting locality in Melaleuca. The release is going to be realized over the comming weeks. ABC news informed about this extraordinary event on the official website.

“It gives us hope for the wild population at the moment and it’s also really nice to see captive birds go into the environment from which they evolved,” said the wildlife biologist Shannon Troy for ABC news.

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This species spends the whole winter time in South Australia and consequently migrates to Tasmania where it breeds. The breeding season just started there and so biologists believe that some of released birds could be involved in reproduction immediately.

According to the IUCN Red List, the Orange bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) is classified as “Critically endangered”. There are several factors responsible for low number of this species in the wild. Firstly, it’s the fact that parrots make long-distance migration from continent to Tasmania every year which costs them much of energy. However, the most serious threat is currently PBFD (Psittacine Beak and Feather disease). An outbreak of this disease in the last year was affecting 19 out of 26 wild Orange-bellied Parrot nestlings tested.

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4a/Neophema_chrysogaster_male_-_Melaleuca.jpg/600px-Neophema_chrysogaster_male_-_Melaleuca.jpg

(c) JJ Harrison. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

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There are still over 200 individuals left in captivity which regularly breed and so can strengthen the wild population. “It’s really important with such low numbers in the wild to have a good insurance population to ensure the species doesn’t go extinct entirely,” said Mrs Troy.

There have been 51 Orange bellied parrots released in Tasmania in the past two years.

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Title photo: (c) JJ Harrison. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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