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Yellow-shouldered parrot (Amazona barbadensis)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 0925555

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 0925555) - Yellow-shouldered parrot - Awarded $24,900 on July 01, 2010

The yellow-shouldered parrot (Amazona barbadensis) is the only Amazona species found in dry forests. Locally listed as Endangered, while globally listed as Vulnerable (IUCN), the yellow-shouldered parrot is one of the 4 most threatened psittacine species in Venezuela. Nowadays, the yellow-shouldered parrot is extinct on Aruba and only found in Venezuela and Bonaire, although the population on Bonaire reaches less than 400 birds. In Venezuela, populations are restricted to the coast, with the largest one found on Margarita Island.

The main threat that affects the yellow-shouldered parrot populations is the capture of nestlings for pet trade in national and international markets. In Margarita Island, the dry forest it inhabits is threatened by uncontrolled sand mining for the construction industry.

Provita, a Venezuelan NGO, has been working to recover the yellow-shouldered parrot population found on Margarita Island since 1989. Back then, only 750 parrots were found, while the population number is currently around 1600 birds. Throughout these 21 years of constant work the efforts have been many, including education campaigns at local schools, celebration of conservation festivals, as well as monitoring and protection of nests during breeding seasons and performing regular population census.

The education campaigns, together with the celebration of the first conservation festival, led in 1992 to the governmental declaration of the yellow-shouldered parrot as the Regional Bird of Nueva Esparta State (where Margarita Island is located). The conservation festival has now become a local tradition, celebrated on different towns each year and on November 6, 2010, the XVIII Yellow-shouldered Parrot Conservation Festival was celebrated in the town of Robledal.

On the other hand, the monitoring and protection activities have allowed the flight of around 30 new birds each year, that otherwise would have probably been captured and sold in the pet trade. In areas where Provita can't conduct monitoring and protection, the poaching of nests is close to 100%. Monitoring and protection where first performed by external volunteers, but through time Provita has recruited and trained local people, some of them previous poachers, to involve them in these activities, organizing them in Biomonitor Brigades.

The protection of nests has always been performed in a private land where most couples breed, called La Chica. In 2009, thanks to the support of World Land Trust and the Taylor Family Foundation, Provita was able to acquire a land known as Chacaracual Community Conservation Area, also very important as nesting and roosting site for the yellow-shouldered parrot and considerably threatened by sand mining. Thanks to the support of Loro Parque Fundación and The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Provita is now working to expand the monitoring and protection activities to Chacaracual.

The main activities required to do this are:

1) Recruitment and training of more biomonitors.

2) Survey and map yellow-shouldered parrot nests in Chacaracual.

3) Enhancement of the breeding site in Chacaracual, by recovering damaged nests and installing artificial nests.

4) Monitoring and surveillance of yellow-shouldered parrot nests in Chacaracual during each breeding season.

5) Continue with the monitoring and surveillance of yellow-shouldered parrot nests in La Chica.

6) Perform regular census of the yellow-shouldered parrot population.

Project 0925555 location - Venezuela, South America