Gland, Switzerland 24.05.2000. IUCN-The World Conservation Union. The first ever Action Plan that aims to save the many parrot species threatened with extinction has been published after more than five years of research involving hundreds of scientists, organisations, and volunteers around the world.
Of the 330 known parrot species, 94 are listed in the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals and the proportion of threatened parrot species (28%) is now one of the highest for any major family of birds.
For centuries parrots have been kept as pets because of their beauty, charm, hardiness, and supposed ability to talk. This has led to hundreds of thousands of birds being taken from the wild every year around the world; no other group of birds has been subjected to greater exploitation. Between 1990 and 1994 nearly two million parrots were traded on the world market.
The long-awaited publication Parrots: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan provides background on threats facing the survival of parrots, descriptive species accounts, over 50 distribution maps and photographs, and clear recommendations on conservation action.
Edited by Noel Snyder, Philip McGowan, James Gilardi and Alejandro Grajal, this is the 54th Action Plan to be released by the IUCN Species Survival Commission. The Plan has been produced through the cooperation of a range of organisations including IUCN - The World Conservation Union, the World Parrot Trust and BirdLife International.
Although trade is the biggest threat to parrots, there are many others. Predation by introduced species, habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation, and shooting for food are currently pushing many species towards extinction.
The Parrot Action Plan recommends increasing the current knowledge of parrots, raising public awareness of the threats that face them, and preventing illegal trapping and trade, whilst recognising the complex biological, social, political, and economic factors that surround parrot conservation.
"In an unprecedented spirit of co-operation among the world's field experts, this Action Plan reflects state-of-the-art knowledge of the threatened parrots of the world. The Plan provides valuable insight for everyone from government officials to conservationists to parrot fanciers, it is a "must-have" for anyone interested in the conservation of parrots around the world" says Dr Alejandro Grajal.
The IUCN/SSC Action Plan series assesses the conservation status of species and their habitats, and specifies conservation priorities. The series is one of the world's most authoritative sources of species conservation information available to nature resource managers, conservationists, funding donors and government officials.
"The information in the Plan is available to decision and policy makers, conservationists, and other interested parties around the world who now have the best available scientific information available on which to make decisions," says Dr Philip McGowan. "Effecting real conservation action is a massive challenge, but if approached with the same level of co-operation and assistance that resulted in publication of the Plan, the world's parrots will face a brighter future."
Copies of the Parrots Action Plan are available through the IUCN Publications Unit.
IUCN Publications Unit
219c Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 0DL, UK.
Tel: (44) (0) 1223 277894 Fax: (44) (0) 1223 277175