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Refuge Association Joins Efforts for the Recovery of the Critically Endangered Puerto Rican Parrot

By Jessica Castro-Prieto and Fernando Núñez García, NWRA Caribbean region

In March, 2018, the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) initiated a new project sponsored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (PRDNER), to search for individuals of the endemic and critically endangered Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata) in the Karst areas adjacent to the Rio Abajo Forest.

The USFWS and the PR DNER have released individuals into the wild to establish new populations near its aviaries at El Yunque National Forest, and the Rio Abajo Commonwealth Forest, where most of the re-introduced parrots can be found. Although released parrots are tracked using radio-telemetry, some of them have dispersed to remote areas, especially after Hurricane Maria, where this tracking methodology is ineffective. In addition, the limited life of the radio transmitter’s batteries further reduces the effectiveness of this method to locate parrots dispersed in the Karst forest. The NWRA contracted Sieve Analytics, a Puerto Rican-based company that uses audio recordings and automated sound identification to study wildlife, to initiate a project aimed to identify the areas the Puerto Rican Parrots are using near the Rio Abajo Forest. The method consists of automated sound recordings at regular time intervals at multiple separated points in the forest. The nondiscriminatory soundscape information captured by the recorders will also help detect the presence of other species in the selected study areas. Thus, in addition to Puerto Rican Parrots, these recorders will detect the presence of other vocal at-risk or endangered vertebrate species including the Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus venator), the Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus brunnencens), the Elfin Woods Warbler (Setophaga angelae), and the Golden Coqui (Eleutherodactylus jasper).

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.refugeassociation.org/2018/05/refuge-association-joins-efforts-for-the-recovery-of-the-critically-endangered-puerto-rican-parrots/

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