Letters


Dear Parrots magazine,

Captive bred releases

I do thank Rosemary Low for her 'Letters' input into my article about Tiara bird and her Amazon instincts for survival. When I mentioned in one sentence that captive bred parrots have been successfully released, I was internally thinking about several. The Kakapo comes to mind, though I perhaps was amiss in writing 'Asia" when I should have said Australasia.

Also the wonderful release project for the Echo Parakeet on Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, although Mauritius could arguably be considered either a part of the African continent geographically or part of Asia as it lies at the intersection of the two continental plates.

Also one of the groups I support, the Save the Elephant Foundation in Southeast Asia, has a lovely news story about a group of Red-breasted Parakeets, which it found and hand-fed as babies. Then released into the wilds at Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, though maybe this does not qualify for Rosemary's criteria as they were originally birthed in the wild, then stolen by poachers as chicks before being rescued, hand raised, and released.

Also the ARA Project in Costa Rica has a breeding and release programme in Costa Rica for the Great Green and Scarlet Macaws. Over the past decade plus years, the programme has successfully released some 70 Macaws. Scarlets have also been released in Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.

Also six captive-raised in a zoo Vinaceous Amazon Parrots were released with a larger group of these birds in Brazil and are being monitored.

Also Orange-bellied Parrots were released in Victoria State, Australia in 2017 and again this year. As this diminutive Parakeet is extremely endangered, the success is quite encouraging so far, “This week’s actions will build on last year’s results of the Mainland Release Trial, which saw wild parrots join captive-bred parrots released near Geelong, creating the largest flock of Orange-bellied Parrots seen on the mainland in nearly 10 years.” the project said. "All of our targets for success that can be measured so far have been met."

It is interesting that Jamie Gilardi, Executive Director of the World Parrot Trust has talked about just this topic. Rethinking a long-held view that captive-bred parrots released to the wild have little hope of surviving there, Gilardi is working with local and international partners to select and prepare captive, pet trade and confiscated Blue-throated Macaws to join their wild counterparts. Although there haven’t been any releases of captive Blue-throated Macaws as yet, Gilardi is confident that wild populations of the species can recover if the captive birds are carefully chosen, health screened, and fully prepared for the wild.

Of course, the smaller the parrot, the more vulnerable it will likely be as a captive raised release subject. I had a captive bred Sun Conure baby that escaped from my home and ended up seven or eight miles away where it lived for several years out in the wilds, albeit without the support of any Conure flock whatsoever. It would hang out with the Doves and Finches to find food and water it seems.

Living in Hawaii, I am familiar with stories of domestic pet parrots that have escaped and are living wild. Southern California and Florida report many of the same instances. Psittacines are resourceful and given half a chance and suitable habitat, captive raised individuals have every chance of success. I guess, for the reader, it is a case of glass half empty or glass half full since all this is a relatively new development in world parrot conservation.

Personally, as evidenced by my savvy Tiara bird and the article I wrote, I prefer to be optimistic.

On a lighter note, at times I feel Rosemary doth peruse my written pieces looking for a sentence with which to contend. If I may humbly suggest, the next time she disagrees, instead of firing off an email letter to admonish my one sentence, it might be nice to sit down and write a full article for Parrots magazine on why she feels the way she does about an issue. That way all of our loyal readership may benefit from her vast knowledge.

Faithfully yours, EB

 


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