Above, One of the recently released red-masked parakeets in the Reserve of Buenaventura.
TWENTY NEAR THREATENED parakeets that were confiscated from poachers have been successfully reintroduction back into the wild in Ecuador.
The red-masked parakeets (Psittacaa erythrogenyrs) are now living in the Natural Reserve of Buenaventura which is also home to the Endangered El Oro parakeet (Pyrrhura orcesi) thanks to work by staff from Loro Parque Fundación.
The birds were confiscated in Ecuador and returned to the wild after a comprehensive and careful reintroduction programme created in collaboration with the Jocotoco Foundation. After being confiscated by police, the 20 red-masked parakeets were cared for at a local zoo, before joining the reintroduction programme.
M i c h ä e l Moens, director of the Jocotoco Foundation, said: “A large outside aviary was built at the Reserve of Buenaventura to adjust the birds to their home surroundings before being released. The birds were tested to ensure sickness absence. They were also marked with rings and microchips in order to monitor them and to avoid being captured again.”
The team of conservationist also organised the collection of biometric data, medical analysis and behaviour observations to achieve a successful reintroduction.
Mr Moens added: “This kind of reintroduction as well on an adequate habitat, which is necessary for the specimens to thrive. The birds, which were used to r e c e i v i n g food and water in the aviary, had to be trained again to survive in the wild of the Reserve of Buenaventura.
“For that purpose, they had to get used once again to fly longer distances and to forage.” T h i s reintroduction was a hard release or non-gradual release, in which individuals are stimulated to leave the aviary once they are fully prepared.
Rafael Zamora Padrón, scientific director at Loro Parque Fundación, said: “The quickly flew in the direction of the surrounding forest and even came to interact with their peers of the same species. It is not only exciting. It is another step in the real conservation of wildlife.”
● For more information on the conservation work of the Loro Parque Fundación, visit: www.loroparque-fundacion.org/en/
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