Lessons from a parrot resurrected from extinction, only to go extinct again


About 100 years ago, Australia’s Paradise Parrot was apparently resurrected. In the early 1900s, it was considered extinct. But, from 1921, several pairs were spotted at Gayndah and Gin Gin in Queensland until the early 1930s. And today, this parrot is the only bird species on the continent to have gone extinct since. the 20th century.

After its initial extinction, the parrot was seen again by a breeder named Cecil Jerrard, who suggested that pastoralism had reduced the habitat available for this bird. And, a contributing reporter for Jerrard who was also an avid bird watcher, Alexander Chisholm, suggested the burning grasslands might be the reason the bird was in decline.

In an effort to save the species, Chisholm has published several articles arguing for its preservation, but those who listened to him favored profit over parrot. And unfortunately, the infrastructure that exists today to protect species (the best science available, legislation requiring it, strategic conservation plans, campaigns by nonprofits, etc.) did not exist at the time. time when the paradise parrot was briefly recovered.

Indeed, a close relative of the paradise parrot, the endangered golden-shouldered parrot, is still with us today. Yet, through science-based strategies, there is a structured approach to protecting this species that takes into account its diet, predators and the fire regimes of its habitat; the latter is particularly important given that colonization has altered bush fires and that climate change exacerbates them. And, more importantly, these plans include the contribution of indigenous groups (the Thaypan and Olkola peoples) who shared their territory with the bird long before the Europeans landed.

Despite these advances, much remains to be done to save not only birds, but all species on the brink of extinction, including forging deeper links with the natural world and taking into account the ethics surrounding their conservation. . To paraphrase Jerrard, we have to consider how “our greed and unconsciousness” directly damages the species with which we share the planet.

This requires more than tangible action plans, but a change in the internal dialogue of the company about nature and where we value; perhaps we can eventually find opportunities to put parrot before profit.


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