South Africa’s national parrot, a story of people and parrots over many generations, is wonderfully documented in this 14-minute insert on the Cape Parrot Project for a popular conservation TV show on the national broadcaster. This important video by Zach Vincent provides a unique view into community-based conservation actions aimed at stimulating positive change for Cape parrots in the wild. Governments and NGOs around the world must invest local communities in the restoration of degraded indigenous habitat and the preservation of endangered species. Community-based conservation has been the only solution for threatened species and landscapes around the world for the last 50 years. The days of “fences and fines” are now over and we are only just realizing this… We need to work together as a global community connected like never before, sharing and caring towards a better, more diverse future… Endangered species like the Cape parrot are the “canary in the coal mine” and herald much greater problems that may even threaten our persistence on this planet…
The Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust, World Parrot Trust, National Geographic and Conservation International provided the core funding for the Cape Parrot Project and made our mission to save Africa’s most endangered parrot a possibility. Cape parrots are threatened by the wholesale degradation of South Africa’s Afromontane forest patches, their persecution as crop pest, and their subsequent introduction to the wild-caught bird trade. By the 1960s and 70s, the remaining Cape parrots had very little of their specialist food, the yellowwood fruit, and the remaining local populations turned on pecan orchards that had been established throughout their range. With very few large yellowwood trees remaining, government officials in South Africa decided to target all the dead and dying yellowwood trees remaining in the landscape, while regulating the removal of large, living yellowwoods through a permit system. This precipitated the systematic removal of ancient Cape parrot nest cavities used by multiple generations, thus pulling the rug from under this Afromontane forest specialist. There are now less than 1,000 remaining in the wild, all of which are under threat from Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) epidemic that we have been studying for the last 3 years. PBFD is a debilitating circovirus that strips the parrot of all feathers and eventually breaks the beak. The virus attacks the immune system and is killing the last-remaining Cape parrots every autumn. We need to do everything we can to guarantee that these shining, amazing parrots are screeching loudly above the yellowwood forests of South Africa forever.
The Wild Bird Trust and Percy FitzPatrick Institute has embarked on a multi-generational initiative that needs to see all South Africans rally behind our national parrot. To make this possible we need you to help us… Spread the word in your local community by sharing this story on Facebook, via email, or through your Twitter feed. Have a private benefit dinner, a raffle, or simply ask our friends to donate to the Cape Parrot Project. People around the world must understand that there the loss of an important species like the Cape parrot will herald the beginning of the end. If we cannot atone for what we have done to these forests and the parrots, we will never be able to correct the global imbalances and chronic species loss that threaten our society as we know it today.
National Geographic video on Cape Parrot Project:
National Geographic “On Assignment” news piece on Cape Parrot Project:
“Africa’s Most Endangered Parrot Revealed Like Never Before…”:
Introduction to Cape Parrot Project:
Community-based conservation work being done:
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our funders, sponsors and partners in the Cape Parrot Project, including: Prins Bernhard Natuurfonds, Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund, Mazda Wildlife Fund, Abax Foundation, Rance Timber, University of Fort Hare, Cape Parrot Working Group, BirdLife Border, Border Rural Committee, and many charitable donors from around the world… Please help us find new sources of funding to support sustained growth in the work of the Cape Parrot Project.