According to the IUCN, only 250-1,000 El Oro adult parakeets are currently left in the wild. Image Credit: Fundación Jocotoco / Michael Moens.
Work by WLT partner Fundación Jocotoco to restore the forest home of El Oro parakeet brings turning point for endangered bird species, with 114 individuals fledging this year of an estimated global population of 250-1,000.
A campaign to bolster the numbers of one of the world’s rarest parrots is yielding fruit, with scores of birds now preparing to take wing in a reserve supported by the World Land Trust (WLT)’s Plant a Tree programme.
Fundación Jocotoco, the WLT partner managing the Buenaventura Reserve in southwest Ecuador, recently reported that 114 El Oro parakeet (Pyrrhura orcesi) have reached the fledging stage so far in 2020 – a turning point for a species thought to number just 250-1,000 mature individuals.
Discovered only in 1980, El Oro parakeet have since been hit by logging, farming and other threats to their sole known habitat, the forests all along Ecuador’s western Andean slopes. Classified as Endangered under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the birds have in Buenaventura their only protected home – a 7,000-plus-acre reserve of cloud forest set up by Fundación Jocotoco in 1999.
At Buenaventura, El Oro parakeet have seen their numbers jump by 30% over the past six years, helped along by the nest boxes set up by Jocotoco.
Snug inside their wooden homes, the drab grey chicks grow green feathers as outside, the forest undergoes the same makeover: alone, the WLT’s Plant a Tree programme has delivered an astounding 30,000 native trees to the reserve in the past few months.
Like humankind in this challenging 2020, the way back to normality for Ecuador’s endangered El Oro parakeet is long. And yet – it is impossible to watch the birds’ grey-to-green transformation and not feel one tiny bit more hopeful about their (and our) future. As we look outside our window and long for freedom, so do they – stretching out newly feathered wings and preparing to take to the skies.
Science has only known El Oro parakeet for 40 years but with your help, we hope to continue to spy their flight over Ecuador’s cloud forests for many decades to come. Fundación Jocotoco’s hard work, and your donations, have helped give these exceptional birds another chance.
You can continue protecting this parakeet home and those of many other endangered species across the world by supporting our Action Fund. Your money will help us act quickly, and assist the reserves that need it most urgently.
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