Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Information about the Puerto Rican Parrot in the Vivaldi (Rio Abajo) aviary

One of the bird of thr Rio Abajo Forest wild flock, raised in captivy.  You can see the antena and the radio transmiter that allow us  to keep track of them

Agency – Department of Natural and Environmental Resources

Bureau of Fish and Wildlife
Division of Wildlife
Endangered Species Section
Project – Program for the propagation in captivity and release into the wild the Puerto Rican parrot
Email address – el.cotorro.electrico@gmail.com, illerandi@drna.gobierno.pr
Project leaders – Ricardo Valentín, Ivan Llerandi
Biologists and Technicians – Brian Ramos, Jong Piel Banch Plaza, Tomás Medina, Eddie Velez, Milagros Cartagena, Gustavo Olivieri, Alberto Alvarez
Location – Rio Abajo State Forest
Jurisdiction – Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Residents – The Vivaldi aviary has 3 permanent residents that assure that there is always someone watching
the aviary and a number of workers that stay overnight when there is the need.

Visits – The Vivaldi aviary is not open to the public
Protected Species – Amazona vittata – the Puerto Rican Parrot

The Aviary also has some pairs of the Hispaniolan Parrot (Amazona ventralis). These pairs are used as foster parents for Puerto Rican parrot chicks when necessary.

Wild Population Estimate – From 30 to 40 individuals in the Rio Abajo Forest, 20-30 in the Caribbean National Forest.

Location of Wild Population – Restricted to the Caribbean National Forest, El Yunque and to the Rio Abajo forest.
Total Population, including parrots in captivity – A total of 269 in captivity, 60 to 70 in the wild.

Captive Groups of the Puerto Rican Parrot

Iguaca Aviary – 133
Agency – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Rio Abajo Aviary – 136 birds
Agency - Department of Natural and Enviromental Resources of Puerto Rico

Wild populations of the Puerto Rican parrot

El Yunque, Caribbean National Forest – 20 – 30
This is the original population that survived the near extinction event

Rio Abajo Forest population 30-40
This is a new population which was started with birds released from captivity. Rio Abajo used to be a stronghold of the PR.

A Short History of the Vivaldi (Rio Abajo) Aviary

Starting date – In 1989 30 Hispaniolan parrots were transferred from the Luquillo aviary to the Rio Abajo aviary to serve as sentinels to detect the presence of infections diseases, to put operational logistics to test, and to evaluate the capacity of the technical staff.

Chronology of Important Events for the Vivaldi Aviary at Rio Abajo Forest

1993 – first group of Puerto Rican parrots transferred from the Luquillo aviary
1994 – first breeding season in Rio Abajo; 2 Puerto Rican (PR) parrot fledglings produced
1995 – second group of 13 Puerto Rican parrots transferred from the Luquillo aviary, 10 PR fledglings produced
1996 – third season; 10 PR fledglings produced
1997 – fourth season; 5 PR fledglings produced
1998 – fifth season; 10 PR fledglings produced
1999 – sixth season; 13 PR fledglings produced
2000 – seventh season; 16 PR fledglings produced; 1 chick received from Luquillo, 9 parrots sent to Luquillo for the release project in El Yunque
2001 – eighth season; 17 PR fledglings produced (3 died after fledging); 3 chicks received from Luquillo; 10
parrots sent to Luquillo for release.
2002 – ninth season; 16 PR fledglings produced
2003 – tenth season; 11 PR fledglings produced
2004 – 11 PR fledglings produced
2005 – 12 chicks
2006 – The best year ever in the Vivaldi aviary until that date, a staggering 29 fledglings are produced in a single season.
2007 - 31 fledglings produced at the aviary
2008 – 30 fledgelings
2009 - 30 fledglings
2010 - 33 fledglings

Total production so far – 271 Puerto Rican fledglings

Captive management Philosophy:

The Rio Abajo aviary is a captive breeding facility that is not open to the public. The principal purpose of the aviary is to be a bank of genetic material representative of the species to provide parrots for future reintroductions into the wild. The facility is equipped with everything necessary to perform many procedures without having to remove the birds from the property. We use a management method that is minimally invasive to the birds’ territories, which are composed of different areas of breeding cages. We use large sized flight cages, of 60 feet in length and 14 feet in height, to socialize the young parrots and so that they can form pairs in a free and natural manner so as to produce pairs of the best quality. We try to maintain an environment that is positively stimulating to the majority of the reproductive pairs and results in less stress.

In the Rio Abajo aviary we have a deep respect for the Puerto Rican parrot as an animal with a large cognitive capacity that needs to be provided not just with the basic necessities of food and water, but also of an environment adequate for exercising the full realm of behavior that they possess. To be able to fill their mental needs we provide spacious cages, fruit, branches, leaves, and toys made of wood, coconut, and rope.  The adult breeding cages are separated from one another by barriers of vegetation and dark screen. We severely limit the access of humans in the areas of breeding cages. We try to reduce to as little as possible the amount of contact the parrots have with humans to avoid the parrots’ becoming accustomed to human contact.  We carefully study the behavior of the young adults and reproductive pairs to look for what might help us to stimulate reproduction in captivity.  We maintain a complete database of our activities with the parrots to be able to evaluate the results of our actions.  We use the Hispaniolan parrot, Amazona ventralis, as foster parents to incubate eggs and raise PR parrot chicks. The eggs and chicks of the Hispaniolan parrots are used to provide practical experience to PR parrot pairs that are new and inexperienced in incubating eggs and rearing chicks

A male in the wild

1 comment:

BRENTON said...

Amazing work with such an endangered species. Congratulations Ricardo!