Ecuador Amazon Parrot Project
The Ecuador Amazon parrot (Amazona lilacina) has been held in the zoo since the early 80s. We manage the Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP) for this parrot, which aims to ensure the zoo population is physically and genetically healthy and sustainable, to act as an insurance population for the species in the wild.
It is categorised by the IUCN Red List as Endangered (2014) and current estimates predict the wild population to be no more than 600 birds. Endemic to Ecuador, it exists only where two highly threatened habitats occur close enough together for it to between daily.
During the 1980s approximately 90% of the mangrove habitat (where the parrot roosts) was destroyed to create shrimp farms, fulfilling an international demand. Today only 1% of Ecuador’s tropical dry forest (the parrot's feeding ground) remains, after being cleared for agriculture and timber. Additionally, the species is also under pressure from poachers and the local pet trade.
Since 2012 we've been studying the Ecuador Amazon parrot in the wild, surveying the coast of Ecuador to map its range and estimate its population size. Today, we are continuing this research, looking to identify areas of forest within ranges that are suitable for the parrot, and thus warrant future conservation efforts.
We're working alongside Fundacion Pro Bosque in the Cerro Blanco Forest. These 4,000 hectares of topical dry forest on the South West coast of Ecuador provide vital feeding grounds for the parrot, but are worryingly close (just 20km) from Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil. The work to protect this forest from the continuous threat of fire, illegal logging and poaching is essential for the future survival of this species.