Puerto Rican parrot recovery plan available
The Puerto Rican parrot recovery plan is updated and now available, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today.
The Puerto Rican parrot is only found in Puerto Rico and is considered one of the 10 most endangered bird species in the world. One of nine Amazona parrots occurring in the West Indies, it is largely green with a red forehead and blue flight feathers. This species is one of the smallest in its genus.
The Puerto Rican parrot was federally listed as an endangered species in 1967 under the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 and ultimately under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
“The Puerto Rican parrot is an important part of Puerto Rico’s natural and cultural history, and serves as a symbol of Puerto Rico,” said Sam D. Hamilton, regional director for the Service’s Southeast Region. “We continue to work closely with the Commonwealth’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust to increase the wild and captive populations of this magnificent species.”
Ongoing captive breeding efforts and reintroduction of Puerto Rican parrots into the wild remain as important recovery efforts in the second revision of the species’ recovery plan. For example, twenty-two parrots were released in the Río Abajo Forest in November 2006, setting in motion efforts to establish a second wild population in the island. Since then, 41 more parrots have been released in the Río Abajo Forest. One released pair successfully fledged one juvenile last breeding season.
The Iguaca Aviary, a state-of-the-art captive breeding facility in the El Yunque National Forest opened by Service in 2007, plays a key role in the parrot recovery program. The aviary resulted from the efforts of many sponsors like Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico, Herencia, and Wal-Mart, and partnering agencies or foundations, including the U.S. Forest Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and Department of Natural and Environmental Resources.
Currently, a minimum of 25 to 28 individuals survive in the wild in the El Yunque National Forest in eastern Puerto Rico and 22 to 28 in the Río Abajo Forest in north-central Puerto Rico. Two captive population facilities hold more than 228 individual parrots at the Iguaca Aviary and the José L. Vivaldi Aviary in eastern and north-central Puerto Rico. Restoring the Puerto Rican Parrot to the point where it is again a secure, self-sustaining member of its ecosystem is a primary goal of this endangered species program.
The original recovery plan was developed in 1982 and was first revised in 1987. This second revision supersedes the others and includes specific recovery objectives and criteria to be met in order to downlist this species to threatened status and delist it under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). It also estimates the time and cost for implementing the needed recovery measures.
To obtain a copy of the second revision of the recovery plan, please contact the Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Ecological Services Field Office at telephone 787-887-8769, or send a written request to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 1600, Río Grande, Puerto Rico 00745.
To view the plan on the web, please visit fws.gov/endangered/recovery/index.html#plans.
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