Major bright spot ahead for threatened Aussie parrot species

SYDNEY, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) — Several parrots that belong to one of Australia’s most threatened bird species have been spotted at a remote island, following a major effort to save them from extinction, local media reported on Saturday.

There are only 30 to 50 orange-bellied parrots left in the wild and nearly 20 of them have started returning to Tasmania state’s southwest region for the mating season, the ABC news channel quoted wildlife specialists as saying.

“It’s almost already surpassing our predictions so it’s really exciting news,” said local birdwatching group Friends of the Orange-Bellied Parrot spokesman and ornithologist Mark Holdsworth.

“We’ve still got a few more weeks to go for more birds to arrive,” he said.

The wild parrots with their distinctive yellow underpart and orange belly patch are one of a few migrating species of their kind, making the treacherous journey from Tasmania to southwest Victoria and South Australia states during winter in the Southern Hemisphere and returning in late spring to breed, according to the channel.

Disease as well as introduced predators such as cats and foxes are threatening the survival of the species.

Fifteen juvenile birds were held back in Tasmania this winter to minimize their risk of dying during their migration to the mainland, with all the parrots surviving and set for release in stages, reported the channel.

Wildlife biologist Shannon Troy told local reporters she was hopeful of a high survival rate and that the birds “will breed really well.”

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