Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Fighting Chance for the Puerto Rican Amazon

The parrot has been called one of the ten most endangered birds in the world. “Don’t ask me what the other nine are,” said White, as if to emphasize the futility of comparing endangerment when so many birds, including several parrot species, are on the verge of disappearing in the wild. The Puerto Rican is certainly the rarest of the 30-plus Amazona parrot species. Despite fierce efforts to protect a wild flock and reintroduce captive parrots, the El Yunque population has hovered below 50 for decades.

The birds battle their twin nemeses: red-tailed hawks and (even in the tropics) hypothermia. “This is not the area that they chose as a refuge; this is what they were left with,” White said of their high-altitude redoubt. “This is the rainiest, most humid part of Puerto Rico. Chicks that fledge either during or before a major rainfall event have a much higher mortality rate than chicks that fledge during drier periods. If we stopped management efforts with this particular population, in a matter of years it would probably be gone, because there are so many environmental factors working against it. That’s why it’s imperative to establish additional populations in Puerto Rico.”

Read the complete article here

Learn more about the Puerto Rican Amazon at 10,000 Birds

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