Posted In Animals, Conservation, Education | 29th May 2020

May 31st marks World Parrot Day

World Parrot Day was originally founded 2004 by the World Parrot Trust and is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate these beautiful, charismatic and intelligent birds.

The motto for 2020 is “Be kind and selfless – be more parrot!” highlighting the recent research into parrot behaviour where grey parrots demonstrated selfless behaviour in helping other parrots get food with no immediate benefit to themselves; a behaviour which is normally only observed with apes!

It is also important to highlight the threats that parrots face on World Parrot Day. Parrots are one of the most threatened bird groups with over a quarter of species classified as threatened by the IUCN Red List and 56% of species in decline. The main threats to parrots are habitat loss and degradation(this means the processes of human origin that make habitats less suitable for the native animals), trapping for the pet-trade and hunting.

 

What you can do?
Habitat loss and degradation not only threaten parrots but lots of other species. We can help the wildlife around us by planting trees and pollinator-friendly plants; and only buying paper and wood products from certified sustainable sources.
To donate towards the conservation projects which Dublin Zoo support, click here.

What is Dublin Zoo doing to help parrots?
Dublin Zoo houses two species of parrots; the citron-crested cockatoo and Mexican military macaw. Both species are endangered and both are part of European breeding programmes. Dublin Zoo also provides support to the coordinator of two breeding programmes for parrots (for the citron-crested cockatoo and Moluccan cockatoo) and support for the vice-chair of the Parrot TAG (Taxon Advisory Group; responsible for coordinating the work of zoos in Europe for parrots).

As the coordinator of two breeding programmes for parrots, we asked Sandra Molloy who is also the Registrar/Research and Conservation Coordinator at Dublin Zoo what the job requires?Zoo breeding programmes aim to conserve healthy populations of animals in zoos while safeguarding the genetic health of the animals under our care. As coordinator of two breeding programmes, this entails receiving regular updates from zoos holding these species and making recommendations to transfer parrots, breed parrots or to recommend some institutions to hold non-breeding groups. There is only a limited amount of space in zoos so it is important to manage the zoo population size for each species.

The Parrot TAG (Taxon Advisory Group) is responsible for coordinating the work of zoos in Europe for parrots. This means liaising with breeding programme coordinators for parrot species and dealing with larger-scale parrot issues e.g. developing guidelines for virus management, improving breeding success in certain groups of parrots, encouraging greater support for parrot conservation in the wild etc.

If you would like to learn more about the EEP, click here.