As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Renewed efforts to save Hispaniolan parrots

In 1492, Christopher Columbus set foot on what is now the Dominican Republic, two-thirds of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. At that time the island's forests, other natural areas and biological richness were largely intact, but the progressive expansion of colonial settlement pushed nature into retreat. Today, the native fauna and flora of the Dominican Republic is best found in its protected areas or inland mountains, well away from the white-sand beach resorts and other bustling holiday hot-spots. Like many endemic species, Hispaniolan Amazon and Hispaniolan Parakeet have declined to the extent that they are both listed in the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable to extinction.
To help in the protection of these two species, Loro Parque Fundación supported action by the Hispaniolan Ornithological Society (SOH) carried out in the Sierra de Bahoruco Mountain Range in the south-west of the country in the mid-2000s. These mountains include a national park, which SOH included in its research on the ecological needs of the psittacines, particularly to determine nesting success and survival rates, the distribution and abundance of the populations, and the documenting of current threats. Arising from the information it collected, especially regarding the removal of chicks from nests to sell to the domestic pet market, SOH made recommendations for the conservation of both species in the Sierra de Bahorucos. However, despite the great biological importance of Bahorucos as a centre of insular endemism, the countrywide situation of both psittacines demands a broader response. The estimated total population of Hispaniolan Amazon is between 6,000 and 15,000 mature individuals, with Hispaniolan Parakeet even rarer at between 1,500 and 7,000 mature individuals. Both populations are still declining.

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