Last Refuge of Newly Rediscovered Fuertes’s Parrot Saved by Conservationists

For Immediate Release: March 5, 2008

Contacts:
, American Bird Conservancy, 202/234-7181 ext. 216
, American Bird Conservancy, 540-253-5780
, Fundación ProAves, Colombia, 571-340-3261 or 571-340-3229, www.proaves.org

 

 

Roving Classroom Helps Rare Parrot Once Feared Extinct

 

Fuertes’s Parrot. Photo: Fundación ProAves
Fuertes’s Parrot. Photo: Fundación ProAves, www.proaves.org.

(Washington, D.C.) American Bird Conservancy and its’ partner group Fundación ProAves, have established the first private protected area for the critically endangered Fuertes’s Parrot. The species, whose population size is estimated at just 160 individuals, lives only in a small area in the Andes of Colombia that is heavily impacted by deforestation.

 

“Until recently, the Fuertes’s Parrot was feared to be extinct,” said Paul Salaman, American Bird Conservancy’s Director of International Programs. “The species inhabits a cloud forest threatened by clearance for cattle ranching and agriculture. By conserving the remaining patches of forest and taking other steps to help this species, we are giving this species a new lease on life.”

 

In 2002, Fundación ProAves’ President Alonso Quevedo found a flock of 14 Fuertes’s Parrots (or Indigo-winged Parrot), and confirmed the survival of a species that had last been seen in 1911.

 

The 1,500-acre reserve is in the same area as the 2002 discovery, and at the core of a site identified by the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) as essential to maintain this species. The AZE, a coalition of biodiversity conservation organizations from around the world, prioritizes protection for endangered and critically endangered species, such as the Fuertes’s Parrot, that have just one last remaining refuge.

 

The reserve, a joint project of American Bird Conservancy, ProAves, and IUCN NL/SPN, sponsored by the Netherlands Postcode Lottery, and supported by Robert Giles and Robert Wilson, consolidates a 5,000 acre zone of protected lands with the municipality of Genova in the department of Quindío. A management plan that guides the conservation of the Fuertes’s Parrot has been developed for the area, and an education and outreach program to local communities is underway.

 

Parrot Bus
The Parrot Bus in the city of Tunja, Boyacá, Colombia. Photo by Fundación ProAves. www.proaves.org.

 

“Public education, together with forest protection, is critical for the long term conservation of the Fuertes’s Parrot,” said Alonso Quevedo. “Since 2005, the ProAves ‘Parrot Bus’ has brought the conservation message to communities across the Central Andes, the priority zone for threatened parrots and biodiversity in Colombia.”

The Parrot Bus has proven to be a practical way of reaching the remotest rural communities and represents an important mechanism for gaining support for conservation actions. The Parrot Bus helps to protect the Fuertes’s Parrot and acts as a mobile environmental education classroom.

 

Since its first tour in 2005 it has reached over 70,000 children and adults who have attended demonstrations and workshops, and received information on the conservation of birds and their habitats. This education project has been made possible by support from the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund.

 

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American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is the only organization that works solely to conserve native wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts to safeguard the rarest bird species, restore habitats, and reduce threats, while building capacity in the conservation movement. ABC is the voice for birds, ensuring that they are adequately protected; that sufficient funding is available for bird conservation; and that land is protected and properly managed to maintain viable habitat. ABC is a 501(c)(3) membership organization that is consistently awarded a top, four-star rating by the independent group, Charity Navigator.

 

Fundacion ProAves leads bird conservation efforts in Colombia through a multi-faceted approach of good science, strong community relations and protection of the most important sites and landscapes for birds.