Vincy Parrot in focus
Friday, September 27, 2013 at 2:54
City Parrots in Amazona guildingii - St. Vincent Amazon, Captive breeding, Conservation, Education

An artist’s impression of the proposed Wildlife Conservation and Education Centre. Inset: Saboto Caesar, Minister of Agriculture, spoke of the assurance of having a ‘source of parrots’ from which the stock here can be replenished, in the event of a disaster.Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar, has hailed the relationship between the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP) as an excellent one.

Caesar’s praise of the non-profit organization came during a press conference and a handing-over ceremony of three 4WD vehicles, at the Forestry Division Headquarters, Campden Park, Monday 23rd September.

Breeding loan agreement

The ACTP, based in Germany, is dedicated to preserving endangered birds and their habitats worldwide, by using rare parrot species as flagships.

Since the early 1980s, the Forestry Division and the Ministry of Agriculture have been facing the challenge of sustaining any meaningful conservation efforts geared towards ensuring that the population of SVG’s Parrot, Amazona Guildingii, remain viable.

This challenge did not go unnoticed, and in 2006 the government of SVG approved a proposal presented by ACTOP, for a technical partnership to conserve the national bird, both within and outside its natural habitat.

What followed (in 2011) was a breeding loan agreement for the purpose of developing a captured stock outside of SVG, in this case Germany.

Caesar told the audience that since then, his ministry has had an excellent working relation with ACTP, so much so, he said he would continue to recommend the relationship with ACTP, especially since, in the event of a large scale natural disaster, there is a place to go "where there is a population of natural birds from which we can repatriate to SVG.”

ACTP representative to SVG, Jurgen Dienst, said that since the agreement was signed in 2011, "we have been able to form 15 parrots which are scientifically good for breeding, and that is a good start to do what we wanted to do, to have more birds available for bringing back whenever the plans call for it.”

He said ATCP believes there is a necessity to increase the numbers "because that gives us the potential to get more stocks and to get more parrots.”

Friends indeed

The ACTP generosity to the government and people of SVG is unquestionable. Recently the sum of $150,000 was allocated by the ACTP for the formulation and conceptualization of a national helping hands programme to assist farmers to purchase fertilizers. And the Ministry of Agriculture is expected to receive a contribution of 100,000 highbred banana plants from Israel, compliments the ACTP.

In addition, $42,000 will be allocated for the purchasing of equipment for the Forestry Division.

Caesar noted that $406,000 have already been allocated by the ACTP for the construction of a Wildlife Conservation and Education Centre at the Botanic Gardens. Monday’s gathering got a view of an artist’s impression of the state of the art facility.

The three jeeps, to be use by the Forestry Division in its conservation efforts, are estimated at a value of $210,000.

Meanwhile, four persons from the media will travel to Berlin, Germany, to see where the parrots are being housed, and to get a firsthand impression of what is being done at the breeding facility.  The trip is being funded by the ACTP.
Statistics from the Forestry Division show that there are approximately 850 parrots currently in the wild here.  This is an improvement from around 400 in the mid 1980s.

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