Orange-bellied Parrots have been released near Geelong as part of the Orange-bellied Parrot Mainland Release Trial, led by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Zoos Victoria.
The project is included in the Conservation Breeding Program supported by the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) Australasian Species Management Program (ASMP).
With less than 50 Orange-bellied Parrots remaining in the wild, the trial is designed to boost the critically endangered population, in an effort to save the species from extinction in the wild.
“The program involves the release of birds flown by plane from Tasmania, and captive-bred birds from ZAA members Moonlit Sanctuary, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Zoo,” said DELWP Natural Environment Program Officer Rachel Pritchard.
“The release of captive birds near Geelong is expected to establish a flock in the area, attracting wild Orange-bellied Parrots migrating from Tasmania.”
“This ideal habitat and the opportunity to flock with other birds will provide wild birds with the best chance of surviving winter and returning to Tasmania for another breeding season.”
“We are very pleased to be involved in The Orange-bellied Parrot Mainland Release Trial again this year,” said Michael Johnson, Director and Founder of Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park.
“For this release, Moonlit Sanctuary has provided 7 captive-bred birds. This mainland release is very important to the future of the Orange-bellied Parrots and we are thrilled to be partnering alongside Zoos Victoria and DELWP.”
The project team will be monitoring the Orange-bellied Parrots at these sites through radio tracking, camera monitoring and the old-fashioned observation of birds.
The trial is part of a wider National Recovery Plan involving ZAA, DELWP, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) and several ZAA members across Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.