Feb 17 2013

 

 

 

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There are less than 1,000 Cape Parrots left in the world. National Geographic has a video and a story about the endangered South African bird. The site reports:

The Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust, World Parrot Trust, National Geographic and Conservation International provided the core funding for the Cape Parrot Project and made our mission to save Africa’s most endangered parrot a possibility. Cape parrots are threatened by the wholesale degradation of South Africa’s Afromontane forest patches, their persecution as crop pest, and their subsequent introduction to the wild-caught bird trade. By the 1960s and 70s, the remaining Cape parrots had very little of their specialist food, the yellowwood fruit, and the remaining local populations turned on pecan orchards that had been established throughout their range. With very few large yellowwood trees remaining, government officials in South Africa decided to target all the dead and dying yellowwood trees remaining in the landscape, while regulating the removal of large, living yellowwoods through a permit system. This precipitated the systematic removal of ancient Cape parrot nest cavities used by multiple generations, thus pulling the rug from under this Afromontane forest specialist. There are now less than 1,000 remaining in the wild, all of which are under threat from Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) epidemic that we have been studying for the last 3 years. PBFD is a debilitating circovirus that strips the parrot of all feathers and eventually breaks the beak. The virus attacks the immune system and is killing the last-remaining Cape parrots every autumn. We need to do everything we can to guarantee that these shining, amazing parrots are screeching loudly above the yellowwood forests of South Africa forever.