Critically endangered swift parrot faces new threat from wood thieves

The Australian government recently listed the Tasmanian swift parrot as critically endangered. That came after the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world authority on endangered species, also upgraded the status to critically endangered, counting perhaps 2,000 of the birds left in the wild.

Alarm bells started ringing last year after researchers at the Australian National University concluded that the swift parrot could be extinct by 2031. Scientists said the population of the birds could halve every four years and 94.7 per cent would be wiped out over 16 years.

Sugar gliders, recently introduced predators, as well as habitat destruction are to blame for the decline, according to experts.

“The next goal for our research group is to figure out what needs to happen to turn the swift parrot trajectory around, because they are only one step from extinction,” Dr. Dejan Stojanovic of the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society, said in a statement released this spring.

Swift Parrots were listed as critically endangered in Australia in May, 2016.Australian National University/Twitter
Swift Parrots were listed as critically endangered in Australia in May, 2016.Australian National University/Twitter

So, it was little surprise this week when researchers posted their outrage on social media about wood thieves chopping down trees that are home to their feathered friends.

Researchers reported the thieves to police and voila, within a day, arrests were made.

So, in sum:

If you do this.

SwiftParrotTreeCut

Then, this happens: These guys are left homeless.

SwiftParrots

So, don’t cut down trees and don’t buy wood from roadside vendors. There is actually a national firewood certification scheme, but only two suppliers in the Tasmania are signed on.

Make sure these little birds have a fighting chance to beat extinction. Because this shouldn’t be happening.

Photos Team Swift Parrot/Australian National University/Twitter

About the author

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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