Scientists Hope to Save the Orange-Bellied Parrot
Conservationists in Australia hope that they will be able to save the heavily endangered orange-bellied parrot by transporting them across the Bass Strait from Tasmania to Melbourne in a jet plane, having now given up on the idea that the bird might be able to survive unassisted. The parrots usually make the winter migration themselves every year but the population has dwindled so much – down to barely 35 birds in the wild – that scientists have taken it upon themselves to ensure the bird’s survival. They aim to build a captive population of the rare parrots that can then be used to supply large numbers back into the Tasmanian wild. To ensure that the parrots do not suffer any injuries they have been packed into safe padded boxes on the plane. The next four to six weeks will be spent in quarantine before the newcomers are introduced to the captive population of Healesville Sanctuary, a wildlife centre to the north-east of the city of Melbourne. The new birds will help introduce new genes and therefore diversity to the 80 orange-bellied parrots currently living in captivity in the sanctuary.