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Workshop for the future of western ground parrots

Western ground parrot
Western ground parrot Jennene Riggs

Conservation experts are attending a workshop this week for the critically endangered western ground parrot hosted by the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Leaders from a range of disciplines from across Australia and New Zealand are meeting in Perth to provide expert input to identify and prioritise emergency interventions for the species.

Parks and Wildlife regional ecologist and South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Team chair Sarah Comer said severe bushfires in Cape Arid National Park at the end of 2015 had destroyed around 90 per cent of the bird’s known habitat.

The fires have created additional challenges to secure the future of the western ground parrot.

”Although a small number of western ground parrots remain in the wild, careful management is required for the population to recover,” Ms Comer said.

“We have engaged the IUCN SSC (International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission) Conservation Breeding Specialist Group to assist the department in developing and facilitating the workshop.

“WWF Australia, Friends of the Western Ground Parrot, BirdLife WA, the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and South Coast NRM have generously provided financial support for the workshop.

“These organisations and others such as Perth Zoo, Bush Heritage, BirdLife Australia and the National Environmental Science Programme Threatened Species Research Hub have sent representatives to participate.”

Ms Comer said the recovery team was encouraged by recent surveys at Cape Arid in which a good number of bird calls were recorded along with some sightings in two unburnt areas.

“We also conducted targeted feral animal control around the unburnt pockets and trapped 10 feral cats,” she said.

“However, the impact of the bushfires has been considerable and we need to seek input on a range of strategies to assist our conservation efforts for the western ground parrot.”

 

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