World Land Trust (WLT) launched the successful Margarita Island Parrot Appeal in 2012, after 16 endangered Yellow-shouldered Parrot chicks were stolen on the Caribbean island of Margarita, off the coast of Venezuela in 2011.
The parrots were taken from their nest boxes at a research centre, where wildlife rangers were guarding and monitoring the chicks until they were ready to fly free. The research centre is owned by WLT’s partner organisation Asociación Civil Provita.
It is estimated that there are less than 10,000 Yellow-shouldered Parrots left in wild, with Margarita Island being one of its last strongholds. The parrots are Endangered in Venezuela and classified as Vulnerable worldwide.
Thefts of Yellow-shouldered Parrot chicks are not isolated incidents on Margarita Island and the illegal collection of chicks for the pet trade threatens the survival of the species.
Nest sites vulnerable
In view of the vulnerability of nest sites, WLT was determined to raise additional funds to increase the number of rangers on the reserve to provide greater security for nesting sites.
In six months in 2012, WLT successfully raised £10,000 to protect chicks reared on the island and to help secure their survival into the future. All donations to the appeal were matched by an anonymous supporter.
Appeal funds will be used for:
- Monitoring eggs and chicks, until the fledglings are strong enough to fly free into the protected reserve
- Training local people as wildlife rangers to increase protection, raise environmental awareness within the community, and provide alternative income and secure jobs
- Regular overnight patrols by rangers to increase security
- Nest recovery to provide a safe place for the parrots to breed and lay eggs
- Improving infrastructure in the reserve including constructing huts and compost toilets
WLT continues to fundraise to protect Margarita Island's threatened habitat and wildlife through the Keepers of the Wild programme.
Funds support the employment of ranger Pablo Antonio Millán, whose knowledge of natural history is extensive and covers most plant and animal species in the region.