The Coalition Government is investing in an innovative project to help the critically-endangered orange-bellied parrot survive winter.
Every year the birds migrate between Victoria and Tasmania. But a high proportion of wild-born first year parrots fail to complete their first migration.
Federal Member for Flinders, Greg Hunt MP, was pleased to announce that local wildlife park Moonlit Sanctuary had been chosen to help spearhead this new initiative.
“With only 50 adults left in the wild, and around 350 adult birds in captivity, we need to increase the breeding population – every bird matters here,” Mr Hunt said.
“That’s why we’re helping Mornington Peninsula’s own Moonlit Sanctuary to build a new aviary complex to house first-year wild birds to protect them through the winter.
“Using this technique, known as ‘ranching’, the birds will be released back into the wild population in Tasmania next summer, increasing the breeding population in 2018-19.
“If successful, Zoos Victoria, Moonlit Sanctuary, the Tasmanian Government and the orange-bellied parrot recovery team will repeat the project in the next migration season.”
Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg MP, was pleased that the new project will add to the significant investment made to protect vulnerable Australian species like the orange-bellied parrot.
“The Coalition Government, with the help of the Threatened Species Commissioner, has mobilised more than $6 million for projects to support the parrot since 2014,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“This includes multi-year emergency biosecurity measures, vaccination protocols for controlling pisttacine beak and feather disease – a key threat to the birds – and supporting recovery actions guided by the Orange-bellied Parrot Strategic Action Planning Group.”
The orange-bellied parrot is one of 20 birds targeted for recovery under the Threatened Species Strategy. Due to its low numbers, the species was identified as requiring emergency interventions like capture and ranching.
For more on the orange-bellied parrot and the other 19 birds identified in the Threatened Species Strategy go to http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/commissioner