October 11, 2013

Endangered Vincy Parrot in breeding programme in Germany

in Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany seems an unlikely place for a tropical bird, but for the Amazona Guildingii, it’s a haven, necessary for its conservation.{{more}}

The Association for The Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP) has come to the rescue of the endangered national bird of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and hosts the bird at a facility which is also home to other threatened species, including the Spix’s Macaw, whose population has dwindled to a mere 86 globally.

The conservation programme for the Amazona Guildingii is being conducted in collaboration with the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and includes components to help protect the natural habitat of the bird in St Vincent and to establish a breeding centre at the aviary at the Botanic Gardens, to manage and to protect the parrot population.

In Germany, the programme extends to the breeding of a genetically diverse population, to increase the chances of the species for survival and to protect the stock from deformities.

Twenty-nine Vincy parrots are currently at the facility, some from the aviary at the Botanic Gardens and 14 others from the United States of America, through the ACTP. It is hoped that pairing and breeding the parrot will not only increase the bird’s population, but improve the gene pool as well.

According to Veterinarian Dr Mandy Carnarius, who deals directly with the parrots in Germany, the Vincy parrots at the aviary in St Vincent didn’t breed much and those that did, were very closely related. This means that because the gene pool was so close, these parrots were susceptible to deformities and diseases.

In Germany, the birds are being paired with Amazona Guildingii which had previously been hosted in the United States. The ACTP and the University of Giessen, through specialist Dr Dominique Fisher aim to sustain the parrot population through artificial insemination. Dr Fisher says this would create a stronger, healthier breed of parrots because they would not be closely related. Studies are also going into the possible artificial insemination of birds in difficult circumstances, to significantly increase the chances of that bird producing fertile eggs.

The ATCP says it intends to construct a Wildlife Conservation and Education centre at the Botanic Gardens in St Vincent. This education centre will showcase all species which are endemic to SVG. This facility is scheduled to be opened in 2015. In addition, it will also house a breeding centre, established with all the necessary specifications, critical for a captive breeding programme for any endangered species.