Orange-bellied parrots at the very edge of extinction: only 4 females and 11 males have survived last winter

November 23rd, 2016 | by Jan Potucek
Orange-bellied parrots at the very edge of extinction: only 4 females and 11 males have survived last winter
Conservation projects
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The most endangered parrot of the world, Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster), is at the very edge of extiction in the wild. After winter season, only 15 birds (4 females and 11 males) came back from Victoria to the only known nesting site in Melaleucu, Tasmania. According to Dr Dejan Stojanovic from Australian National University, who leads the project for conservation of this species, it means six birds less contrary to the last nesting season. Because of this unfavourable situation, researchers have decided to launch a new rescue plan which will hopefully help to protect babies from PBFD, which is currently one of the most dangerous threats for this species.

How far is the extinction?

The Orange-bellied Parrot is currently the most endangered Australian bird. It is also one of two psittacids which migrate. This species spends the nesting season in Tasmania and in the winter it goes on south of the Australian continent. Above mentioned fact means a significant complication for reintroduction plans. In captivity, there are about two hundreds of individuals split to several breeding stations. In this week, conservationists announced a public fund-raising campaign for 60.000$. This money would cover all expenses of the new rescue plan.

„Although some action has already been taken (captive-bred female OBPs have been released), the low number of wild birds is at crisis level, and emergency intervention is required. This is where you come in. We need your help to raise enough money quickly so we can act fast to try and prevent extinction of the OBP in the next year,“ said conservationists on the campaign website Pozzible.

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„We will use the funds we raise to implement an emergency intervention plan for OBPs, which we hope will increase the number of birds that breed in wild nests the 2016/2017 season,“ they added.

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Last chance to save the species

The aim of conservationists is simple: to increase number of wild bred babies in this year. „The last three pairs of OBPs have already started searching for nests, so we need urgent funding to get on the ground next week to start work,“ they said. The team wants to monitor all the nests permanently so there is a chance to take fast action if needed.

„We need critical equipment like field incubators (for eggs in need of help), brooders (for babies that need help), and we will have access to some captive bred OBPs to try an ambitious cross-fostering attempt to help build up the number of wild bred female parrots produced this year.“

„Unfortunately there are no guarantees this project will work, but we have to try everything possible while we still can to save the OBP. We have the expertise and people needed to make this happen, but we desperately need your help to be able to cover the substantial cost of working in the challenging and remote location where OBPs breed,“ said conservationists.

According to their estimation, monitoring of each baby costs daily 58,9$.

„We have a maximum of two weeks before the time window closes for us to act,“ they added.

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Title photo: (c) Mark Holdsworth

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