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Yellow-eared parrot no longer ‘critically endangered’

27/05/2010 13:18:17

Official recognition for conservation efforts to save a bird once thought to be extinct

May 2010: It is all to rare for changes to an animal's conservation status to be a postive one, butthis week the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced that the status of the yellow-eared parrot is being downgraded from ‘Critically Endangered' to ‘Endangered'.

The yellow-eared parrot from Colombia

The move recognizes the remarkable achievements of three conservation organizations - Fundación ProAves, Fundación Loro Parque, and American Bird Conservancy (ABC) - in conserving the species.

Built back up from a colony of just 81
Many in the birding and wildlife community rejoiced in 1998 when Fundación ProAves, funded by ABC and Loro Parque (an environmental group focused on saving parrots) rediscovered a colony of 81 Yellow-eared Parrots in the Andes of Colombia, South America after the species was thought to be extinct.

But the jubilation was tempered by the fact that a new responsibility and challenge needed to be faced - protecting the environment around these birds and growing the colony to levels that would better ensure its long-term viability. The IUCN announcement confirms that the challenge is being successfully met with the Yellow-eared Parrot now standing at more than 1,000 individuals.

‘We are proud our support has paid off'
‘Today, almost 11 years later, we see the results of the ongoing work of more than 180 individuals and 47 organisations around the world. This also includes contributions by local communities as well as success in research, conservation and environmental education activities,' said Alonso Quevedo, President of ProAves.

‘Since 1999, the Loro Parque Foundation has supported ProAves in its exceptional efforts to bring about the recovery of the yellow-eared parrot. With the announcement today that this species is no longer critically endangered, we are proud that our support has paid off in the best possible way. The come-back of the yellow-eared parrot is singularly impressive, and the conservation program of ProAves should be used as a model of success to avoid the extinction of other threatened parrots,' added Wolfgang Kiessling, President of Loro Parque Fundación.

‘This stunning and truly remarkable success shows what can be achieved when committed organisations, institutions and individuals come together with a clear and common purpose - to save a species,' said ABC's President George Fenwick.

Eleven years after starting conservation efforts to save the yellow-eared parrot, the population numbers more than a 1,000, a key threshold for the recovery of the population. Conservation efforts continue with the hope that the spectacular yellow-eared parrot is once again a common sight across the Andes of Colombia.

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