Re: Princess Parrot Trips Wrap-Up

To: Tim Dolby <>
Subject: Re: Princess Parrot Trips Wrap-Up
From: Andrew Stafford <>
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2010 16:05:32 +1000

I don't mean to suggest that the person I mentioned was anything other than a 
photographer. However, I am saying that the potential for collectors to target 
birds, and to use this mailing list as a resource for information, is clear and 
present. It should be a wake-up call for us all. Having said that, the prices 
you quote are interesting and does put the potential problem into perspective.



On 16/12/2010, at 3:40 PM, Tim Dolby wrote:

> Good point Andrew, I think you're right. This does need some debate. Without 
> wanting to understate the seriousness of this issue and for the sake of 
> debate, here are some really quick thoughts.
> After an earlier debate on the price of wild parrots I looked up the 
> commercial price for wild parrots in Australia and came across this document 
> - 
> The prices really surprised me. It puts the price of adult pair of Princess 
> Parrot at $80. By contrast the price of a pair of Rainbow Lorikeet is $100 a 
> pair, Mulga Parrot $120 a pair, Crimson Rosella $150 and interestingly 
> Scarlet-chested Parrot is only $60. The price of the Port Lincoln race 
> (zonarius) of the Australian Ringneck is $120 a pair. On pure commercial 
> terms this means that it's more profitable to target nesting Ringnecks in the 
> trees in downtown Alice Springs than to target the Princess Parrot west of 
> Alice Springs. The fines for "unauthorised action with significant impact on 
> listed threatened species" according to the Convention on International Trade 
> in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) are $550,000 
> (individual) and $5,500,000 (body corporate), and an offence relating to 
> threatened species the fine of $46,200 and / or seven years imprisonment 
> (individual). The Princess Parrot west of Kings Canyon are (relatively 
> speaking) under significant surveillance from interested groups, such as  the 
> Northern Territory Natural Resources and Environment Dept and the CLC. This 
> makes the chance of being caught for illegal actions relatively high. It 
> appears to me that the costs (financial or legal) of illegal procurement of 
> the parrots in this particular case doesn't add up. I'm more than happy to be 
> contradicted on this - as mentioned my thoughts are purely speculative and 
> the hole in my argument may be so large that you could drive a mining truck 
> through it!
> Perhaps your second point is more important. The impact of large numbers of 
> visitors with 'positive' intentions (such as birders and photographers i.e. 
> you and I, although I'm a hopeless photographer :) may have far more serious 
> implications for the birds and their environment. As you mention, for example 
> through the spread of weeds, social and habitat disturbance, increased 
> potential for fire, etc. Therefore limiting birders and other interested 
> people from the site, in the way that the CLC, has done is easily the best 
> plan of action. As an aside it's also worth noting that Santos, one of 
> Australia's largest oil and gas production companies, is operating very near 
> to the area that the parrots have been found.
> Cheers,
> Tim Dolby
> ________________________________________
> From: Andrew Stafford 
> Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2010 2:43 PM
> To: Tim Dolby;  net. au
> Subject: Re: Princess Parrot Trips Wrap-Up
> Tim and all,
> There is one other extremely important matter that has come out of the 
> Princess Parrot situation that urgently needs to be addressed. It has come up 
> on birding-aus on many occasions before: the divulging of nesting locations 
> of rare birds.
> On my visit to the site on 3 December I was shown 4WD tracks that led off 
> road (really, off-track) straight to an advertised GPS location for the birds 
> - in fact, straight to a nest tree. Those tracks were made by a person who 
> has inquired about Princess Parrots on this site before.
> I am glad to say this person was "sprung" and his vehicle photographed by 
> someone from the NT's Natural Resources and Environment Dept, who was 
> studying the birds. I have seen these photographs and on his vehicle was a 
> large ladder. Although he says he is a photographer himself, the implications 
> and dangers should be clear to all (quite apart from the extraordinary 
> environmental and cultural insensitivity involved). The fact that Princess 
> Parrots are common aviary birds doesn't mean that poachers won't attempt to 
> capture eggs/specimens of wild birds in an event such as this.
> One other matter. Buffel grass is an environmental menace in northern 
> Australia. It is a weed spread via soil, and is common around Alice Springs. 
> Since almost everybody who went to see the birds would have come through 
> Alice the potential for birders being a vector for the spread of the grass 
> (which is otherwise uncommon in the area where the parrots were breeding) is 
> a legitimate concern. Our vehicle was not checked for this before our entry 
> to the area - it's something I became aware of after the fact - and it's 
> something I hope the CLC will endeavour to guard against in any future trips. 
> I think it's fair to say, though, that there is a better chance of 
> infestations being controlled if they know who is heading out there!
> Andrew Stafford
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