Victoria, Seychelles | May 28, 2016, Saturday @ 15:47
(Seychelles News Agency) - An eradication campaign to rid Seychelles of the ring-necked parakeets is now in the final stages, the Seychelles Islands Foundation, SIF, has said.
A team of hunters from New Zealand armed with rifles are tracking the last remaining birds in the western region of the Seychelles main island, Mahé.
“We are currently concentrating our efforts in the Port-Glaud district,” the project coordinator, Laurent Leit, said to SNA.
As they pursue what is believed to be one of the last of the remaining ring-necked parakeets, the hunters are facing mountainous terrain which makes it difficult to track the bird.
According to Leit, there is also the problem of spotting the green parakeets, as they blend in well with the dense, green vegetation.
“These birds are very intelligent. If you’ve attacked them in one spot and they managed to escape, they will not return to that same spot and this makes our work more difficult,” said Leit.
Other than being a threat to native birds of the 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, the species is also a nuisance to farmers and owners of home gardens as they feed on fruits especially their seeds, even before they are ripe.It is believed that the ring-necked parakeets, better known as the ‘Kato Ver’ [green parrots] due to its green colour, was introduced in Seychelles as early as 1970 as a caged pet. The bird managed to get into the wild some years later.
Several eradication programmes have been implemented as early as 2003, but to no avail. The current campaign started in 2013, when the estimated number of the green bird was said to be between 300 to 400.
According to Laurent Leit, the number was surely much higher as over 500 birds have been killed since the eradication project began.