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International interest in critically endangered species

A male western ground parrot leaves the nest after feeding a female
A male western ground parrot leaves the nest after feeding a female Perth Zoo

The western ground parrot, a critically endangered species, has gained international attention and investment from a German-based environmental group.

The Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots e.V. (ACTP), a non-profit organisation, has committed $200,000 over two years and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) to support the ongoing protection of the species.

Chair of the South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Team Sarah Comer said she welcomed the ACTP’s investment in assisting with recovery efforts for the western ground parrot.

“The funding will help to support the western ground parrot program at Perth Zoo, and ongoing recovery of wild populations on the South Coast, both of which are important in improving our knowledge of western ground parrots,” she said.

“It will also be invaluable in helping more broadly with the recovery program, which has the potential to see Zoo-bred birds used to establish new populations in the wild.

“It is very exciting to see groups from abroad offering to assist with the long-term protection of threatened animals such as the western ground parrot.”

The western ground parrot is a cryptic, ground dwelling parrot with less than 150 birds estimated to remain in the wild in Cape Arid National Park and adjacent Nuytsland Nature Reserve. The main threats they face are predation by feral cats, foxes and bushfires.

Ongoing recovery actions coordinated by DBCA, such as feral cat and fox management through the Western Shield program and fire management, also continue to be key actions in protecting the remaining critically endangered ground parrots.

The ACTP will also share the knowledge it has gained through breeding threatened parrots, including Spix’s Macaw, a Brazilian parrot considered to be extinct in the wild.

Ms Comer said in addition to the European investment, the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot were also providing a donation.

“They have worked incredibly hard in the last few months to raise an additional $30,000 for the recovery program and to support the efforts of the DBCA field team,” she said.

“Community efforts in assisting with conservation programs for western ground parrots are equally important in helping to conserve this critically endangered species into the future.”