Sensational reintroduction of the Red-masked Parakeets

August 3rd, 2019 | by Rafael Zamora Padron
Sensational reintroduction of the Red-masked Parakeets

Thanks to intensive efforts by Loro Parque Fundación, 20 red-masked parakeets are flying free in nature. These parakeets were confiscated in Ecuador and returned to wild after a comprehensive and careful reintroduction programme.

The birds are living now in the Reserve of Buenaventura, which is home as well to the El Oro Parakeet, and where Loro Parque Fundación is conducting a conservation programme in collaboration with the foundation Jocotoco.

Microchip checking (c) Jocotoco
Collecting blood samples (c) Jocotoco
Head detail of Red Masked Parakeet (c) Jocotoco

The capture of this kind of parrots occurs more often than thought. Hopefully, local authority helped to avoid the bad keeping management of these birds. The police confiscated them and brought them to a local zoo, which cared for them until they joined the reintroduction programme.

Field observation (c) Jocotoco

A large outdoor aviary was built at the Reserve of Buenaventura to adjust the birds to their home surroundings before being released. The birds were clinically tested to ensure sickness absence. They were also marked with rings and microchips in order to monitor them and to avoid being captured again.

Recently released Red Masked Parakeet (c) Jocotoco

The team of Michäel Moens, director of Jocotoco Foundation, in coordination with the technical team of Loro Parque Fundación, organised the collection of biometric data, medical analysis and behaviour observations, providing us important information of wildlife. Thus, thanks to the zoos and their long experienced professionals, a successful reintroduction was achieved.

Jocotoco workers are passionate ornithologists (c) Jocotoco

This kind of reintroduction depends as well on an adequate habitat, which is necessary for the specimens to thrive. The legal permits and administrative proceedings supported this rewilding programme from the beginning until the end. The specimens, which were used to receive food and water in the aviary, had to be trained again to survive in the wild of the Reserve of Buenaventura. For that purpose, they had to get used once again to fly longer distances and to forage.

Education of future generation is the key for conservation (c) Jocotoco

This reintroduction in the wild is a so called hard release or non-gradual release, in which individuals are stimulated to leave the aviary once they are prepared. They will survive if they stay together as a group since their vocalisations can protect them from predators and help one another to find food and water.

In this particular case of release, it is worth to mention their fast interaction with other birds of the same species in the surroundings. They welcomed them with the typical vocalisations inviting them to be part again of this ecosystem.

You can see more pictures of this reintroduction programme through this QR code:

Author: Rafael Zamora Padron, Scientific Director of Loro Parque Fundación

Photos: (c) Jocotoco


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