A species struggling to survive...
Cape Parrots are long-lived (probably up to 30 years in the wild), mature late, often do not breed annually, and raise few chicks to adulthood over their lifetimes. Ongoing monitoring of Cape Parrot population levels over 12 years has demonstrated that Cape Parrots exist in a population bottleneck of approximately 1200 parrots. This population bottleneck (a restriction like the neck of a wine bottle) demonstrates the inability of the species to recover their population levels under current conditions. It is believed that habitat loss, avian disease, capture for the illegal wild-caught bird trade or persecution as a crop pest requires are all contributing factors leading to its current situation
The Percy FitzPatrick Institute for African Ornithology (University of Cape Town), Birdlife South Africa and the CPWG have partnered to launch the Cape Parrot Endangered Species (CAPES) project to compliment ongoing monitoring and community work in the region.
The specific targets of the CAPES project:
We need to turn the tide and protect this remaining wild populations of the flagship African parrot species. We can’t wait for the forests to regenerate. We need to put up nest boxes, set up supplementary feeding stations, vaccinate against disease, and support and monitor all breeding activity. We need to do this now, as a matter of urgency. Learn more about Cape Parrot conservation at the Cape Parrot Trust website.
- Erect 100 nest boxes in the Afromontane mixed yellowwood mistbelt forest along the Amathole mountain range;
- Conduct in-depth aerial and ground surveys of forest condition, resource abundance and fruiting phenology throughout their Eastern Cape range
- Study the feeding behaviour of Cape Parrots in the wild over 36 months;
- Identify annual periods when Cape Parrots are vulnerable to capture;
- Protect and possibly supplementary feed wild breeding pairs at nest cavities during breeding season; and
- Study 100 Cape Parrots over 36 months in local pecan orchards to take blood for PBFD testing, blood screening, and DNA archiving (for trade regulation);
- Mount small GPS dataloggers linked into the cellphone network onto 30 Cape Parrots to monitor their movements between forest patches and the coastal regions; and
- Support the objectives of the Cape Parrot Working Group in the Eastern Cape.
And stay informed...
Read Steve Boyes' Blog, to stay informed of the most recent efforts to save the Capes. Steve is the principal investigator and manager of the Cape Parrot Endangered Species (CAPES) project in the Amthole mountains of the Eastern Cape.
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