Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata) Recovery Program > Magazine > Forests > Puerto Rico

Pueto Rican Parrot, NIV
Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata) Recovery Program > Forests > Puerto Rico
During the last forty years, the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico (DRNA), with the collaboration of the United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USDAFS), have been actively working for many years in the recovery program of the only endemic parrot species of Puerto Rico, the Amazona vittata. This species was abundant during the times of colonization with widespread distribution in the Island. However, during the last two hundred years, its habitat destruction caused by deforestation and natural disasters such as hurricanes contributed to the precipitous decline in the population of the parrot. In 1967, the Puerto Rican parrot was listed as an endangered species, and today it is considered one of the ten most threatened species in the world with a wildlife population of about 25 parrots restricted to the Caribbean National Rainforest (CNR), El Yunque, in the east of Puerto Rico.

Conservation efforts to recover the Puerto Rican parrot started in 1972 with the Captive Propagation Program initiated by the USFWS in the CNR. In 1993, DRNA started its own program at the Río Abajo State Forest Aviary in Puerto Rico. Since their inception, these programs have been very successful, and in 2006, 42 new parrots were born between both aviaries, making history for this program. This success has been the primary reason for conducting parrot releases into the wildlife at the CNR during previous years. However, due to the need to establish another parrot wildlife population in Puerto Rico, DRNA along with the USFWS and the USDAFS, released during November 2006 a group of 20 parrots for the first time in the Río Abajo State Forest. This forest is located between the municipalities of Arecibo and Utuado, in the heart of the exciting Karst region in the north central area of the Island. The natural characteristics of this region make this forest an ideal location to reintroduce individual parrots. This interagency effort has as its main objectives to reintroduce a considerable number of Puerto Rican parrots during the next five years and achieve the establishment of a second parrot wildlife population in the Island. These aspects are fundamental to accomplish the recovery of the species, one that is very representative of the Puerto Rican culture.
We invite you to join us at the Río Abajo State Forest and be part of such an important recovery effort. In addition, you might be able to personally spot Puerto Rican parrots, “flying free with life as its destination.”
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