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Monday, October 14, 2013

Orange-Bellied Parrot About to Become Extinct

It's a tough time for the orange-bellie. This species of parrot is about to become extinct. It is estimated to have five years left to live. A few years ago there were 70 pairs. Now only 50 birds remain. The last species of bird to go extinct in Australia ceased its existence 70 years ago.

For the most part, people don't seem to care. However, there are more close to extinction. A fight ensues to keep the orange-bellie alive. In 1984 the Orange-Bellied Parrot (OBP) Recovery Team was created to monitor and protect the bird. A protected breeding program was established in south-west Tasmania. Fifteen years of drought has seen the birds' supply of seeds dwindle to almost nothing. Water has been allocated for irrigation and piped away from the region.

A last throw of the dice involves catching 10 pairs then breeding them in a caged area. This kind of action is unusual. It would be expected that eggs be taken from nests of wild birds, with hatching done in an incubator then hand feeding. This way more eggs would be laid when the initial eggs are taken away.

Once wild birds are taken from the wild they will always be domesticated. Learning from older birds ends.  There is no way that knowledge of feeding grounds can be passed on.
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Conservation by Ty Buchanan
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