Today: Thu 22 Feb 2018

Predator-free Islands not Enough for Swift Parrot Conservation

Predator-free islands were thought to be the saving grace for the Critically Endangered Australian Swift Parrot, but research finds that mainland efforts are also necessary.
Sometimes conservation projects have clear trajectories and the answer to protecting a species is relatively straightforward, but more often than not there are a few surprises along the way. This is true for Australia’s Critically Endangered Swift Parrot, which is found throughout Tasmania and on predator-free islands. Conservationists believed that these predator-free sanctuaries were the solution to saving the species, but new research shows that the birds are nomadic and therefore isolation does not guarantee protection.

Researchers had believed Swift Parrots to be isolated populations, with some living on mainland Tasmania and other populations living on these predator-free islands. However, a new study through the Australian National University Fenner School of Environment and Society found that populations of Bruny and Maria Islands are not genetically isolated from mainland populations. There is only one population of Swift Parrots and it is spread throughout the mainland and off-shore islands. This highlights a need for increased conservation.

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