What Is It?
The Orange-bellied Parrot (known as the 'OBP') is a small, bright-green, migratory parrot that spends the summer breeding in Tasmania and the winter in coastal Victoria and South Australia. It is critically endangered, with the current number estimated to be only around 50 left in the wild. Since 1983, a scientific team - the Orange-bellied Parrot National Recovery Team - has worked to try to 'recover' its numbers. But it's a race against time.
How do we tell them apart?
Orange-bellied Parrots are monitored at their Tasmanian breeding grounds and on the mainland. Almost every bird has been caught (whilst a nestling) and fitted with unique legbands. Each individual can thus be identified when sighted, and re-sighted, during its lifetime of 2-6 years. Band details can be read with a telescope or binoculars.
Captive breeding: an insurance population
Several wild birds were caught in 1985 and a captive breeding program began. It is now spread across six institutions: zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, a government facility and a parrot-breeding business. In 2011, another 21 birds were caught at Melaleuca to add to the captive population, adding much-needed genetic diversity.
There are 350 birds in captivity, known as an 'insurance population' in case the species goes extinct in the wild. It also supplies birds for release to the wild, which has been done for the last two seasons - 2013/14 and 2014/15.
Where can I learn more?
Save the Orange-bellied Parrot (Facebook) reports the latest information about the Orange-bellied Parrot recovery program, including summer and winter sightings, breeding, and news about the captive population. Our blog features longer articles, information about surveys, and interviews with members of the OBP National Recovery Team. Our aim is to tell everyone about this beautiful, vulnerable bird, and to help ensure its future in the wild. The 'OBP' is a priceless part of Australia's biodiversity, but its future remains uncertain.
Funding for conservation work is from three state governments and (hopefully) the Commonwealth Government, but it has never been reliable or complete. We aim to raise money from the public and corporate sources to supplement this with much-needed funds for conservation and research.
Save the Orange-bellied Parrot is on Givematcher, an online fundraising platform. Our Givematcher page showcases this bold new way to fundraise, in which ethical companies and individuals match the public's donations. Corporates and individuals win by getting kudos for their environmental credibility; the birds win because donations are increased, sometimes doubled or even quadrupled.
Please donate or shop, and contribute vital funds to help safeguard the future of Orange-bellied Parrots.