Researchers ask: „Don’t remove the Superb Parrot from the list of endangered species!“

March 3rd, 2015 | by LubosTomiska
Researchers ask: „Don’t remove the Superb Parrot from the list of endangered species!“
Conservation projects

Australian authorities announced the public dialogue about removing of the Superb Parrot (Polytelis swainsonii) from the list of endangered species. According to their statement, the population of this species is already stable so there is no need to categorize it in the IUCN Red List. Local researchers try to prevent this step. The Superb Parrot is now classified as „least concern“ (LC) and according to BirdLife International there are more than 20 000 individuals living in the wild now. That’s a lot more than in 2000 when estimates fluctuated around 6 500.

The proposal to remove the Superb Parrot out of the IUCN Red List devalues the years of our conservation work, we would get back to the start,“ said environmentalists from Canberra. However, they confirm the information comming from the authorities who say that population in the northern part of range is rapidly increasing, especially in the suburb of Canberra around Belconnen. On the other hand, the previous conservation work prevented building of new residential districts in biotopes which are inhabited not only by this parrot but other threatened animal species as well.


File:Polytelis swainsonii -Flying High Bird Habitat -Australia -male-8a.jpg

(c) paulgear. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


Parrot just migrate, said researchers

The first reassessment of the conservation degree of the Superb Parrot occured in 2010 when local authorities organized their own monitoring. They found out that the population size grew up from 6 500 to 10 000 individuals. Another positive aspect was the finding that this species inhabits again the northern part of range where disappeared in 60‘s. However, ornithologists object as it is not a sufficient argument to remove this species from the IUCN Red List. In their opinion parrots just migrate to northern areas as there are more eucalyptus trees and those are used for nesting. “I think this is the reason we get so many superb parrots in the Belconnen area and Gungahlin, rather than southern Canberra where they are really unusual,” said Canberra Ornithologists Group member Chris Davey for Canberra Times.

The fact that authorities have now more observations of this species than in the past doesn’t have to mean that the population actually grows. „Seeing more birds about did not necessarily mean an increase in numbers. It may indicate their distribution had changed because of climate change, or other factors,“ explained Mr Davey. “What we can’t do is assume that because the distribution has increased, they are more frequently seen and breeding in the ACT, that this is a result of increased numbers,” he said. The same opinion has Dr Damon Oliver – a team leader on threatened species in the south east region for the Office of Environment and Heritage and to his mind the species should stay classified in the IUCN Red List.

Damon Oliver together with 30 volunteers (mostly farmers) from southern regions Boorowa, Yass and Young monitored numbers of the Superb Parrot in here in 2013 and 2014 and compared their findings with results from 2000. Suprisingly, they found a concerning decline. “We have not seen any evidence to support de-listing, we think there is compelling evidence numbers may still be declining,” Dr Oliver said. Researchers will present results of their work to relevant authorities including another monitoring when they found out an even more significant decline in western Dubbo. In there, population size decreased on a half.



Generally, the Superb Parrot (Polytelis swainsonii) does well in areas where farmers protect old eucalyptus trees which are necessary for nesting. In localities where these trees are cut, birds disappear. Conservation of the Superb Parrot is joined with protection of other animals and plant species as well. In case that this parrot species will be removed from the IUCN list the conservation politics of whole region could be considerably affected. That’s why researchers make an appeal to public to use their civil law and send their personal statement to the Department of Environment’s wildlife, heritage and marine division up to the 9th of January, 2015.


Title photo: © JJ Harrison, Creative Commons 3.0 Unported



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