Simon Mustoe stated in his recent posting on this chat-line and on his website
that the recovery team is planning on removing half the population of OBPs to
captivity this year. This statement is wrong and unhelpful and I ask that it be
removed from Bird-O. An accurate description of the Action Plan endorsed by the
State and Commonwealth Governments can be found in the recovery team's
newsletter 'Trumped-up Corella' on the BA website. There was also an article in
the June Wingspan and there will be another in the September issue.
The recovery team plans to increase the number of founder individuals in the
captive population, to a total of 30 if possible. The program to take wild
birds has been carefully designed to cause minimum harm to the wild population
- it is a scientifically-based, selective harvest. We aim to remove one
nestling from all nests that can be accessed for as long as there is a wild
breeding population, or until the target is reached. We will also attempt to
catch any unbanded juveniles because they are likely to be derived from a
different breeding group to those from the main breeding population at
Melaleuca in sw Tasmania, where all nestlings have been banded for the last 8
years or so. Because they are probably not from the Melaleuca breeding group,
unbanded juveniles may be more valuable as founders for the captive population
- the Melaleuca breeding group is already over-represented in captivity.
Targeting juveniles results in a lower impact on the wild population than
targeting adults because, as in any population, the juvenile mortality rate is
higher and most of them will not reach adulthood anyway. Juveniles taken into
captivity may begin breeding before they are 12 months old.
Taking a single nestling from each nest eliminates the possibility of bringing
in full siblings, ensuring maximum flexibility in options for pairing captive
birds, and allows the remaining nestlings (clutch size usually 3-5) to continue
their natural development as wild birds.
The annual winter OBP count is on this weekend - wish us luck, right now we
know the whereabouts of perhaps 7 birds!
Chair, Orange-bellied Parrot Recovery Team
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