Mauritian Parrot No Longer Endangered: WVI Celebrates Conservation Success

Conservation efforts supported by charity Wildlife Vets International (WVI) have helped to bring the echo parakeet, a green parrot found only in Mauritius, back from the brink of extinction. There are more than 800 echo parakeets in the wild today compared with fewer than 20 in the late 1970s when it was the world’s rarest parrot, to over 800 today.  As a result, the bird has had its conservation status ‘down-listed’ from Endangered to Vulnerable by the IUCN.[1]

Photo credit: Simon Tollington

WVI provides specialist veterinary support to conserve and protect endangered species and is recognised as a leader in conservation medicine.  Its avian expert, Andrew Greenwood, has provided expertise to the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation for more than 20 years, both during visits to the country and remotely.  During the 1990s, he helped to resolve issues with the echo parakeet captive breeding programme, including poor water quality, a lack of privacy for breeding birds and problem feather plucking. Dr Greenwood also helped set up student research projects that have ensured high quality science has guided the practical conservation management of these birds.

Commenting on the change in conservation status, Dr Vikash Tatayah, Conservation Director of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, said: “We are so grateful for WVI’s support for this long-term project to conserve this unique Mauritian bird.  Without Andrew’s expertise, especially during an outbreak of Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) – a virus affecting parrots – we would not be where we are today.  It is wonderful that we now have 800 echo parakeets living in the wild and we aim to increase this to 1,000 over the next few years.”

Mrs Olivia Walter, Executive Director of WVI, said: “WVI is recognised as a leader in the field of wildlife and conservation medicine as we provide critical veterinary support to international wildlife and conservation projects across a range of species. While there is still work to do, we are delighted to have played a part in increasing echo parakeet numbers to the extent that it is no longer ‘endangered’ and look forward to continuing to work with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation to fully secure its future.”

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[1] International Union for Conservation of Nature: the global authority on the status of species