Due to their critically low population numbers, the species is on the verge of extinction. A natural disaster like a wildfire could wipe out their habitat, and subsequently the remaining Western Ground Parrots. But a last-ditch effort is underway to save these beautiful birds and encourage their population numbers to thrive once again.
Australia's Perth Zoo is currently housing seven Western Ground Parrots in four cages. Experts plan to breed them in three different pairs -- along with an extra male. Perth Zoo is known throughout the world for its remarkable conservation expertise and ability to breed endangered animals, which is why it was chosen to house the half-a-dozen-plus-one specimens.
But this a monumental and equally difficult task for Perth Zoo experts, as the bird breeding program is a first of its kind. One of the many hurdles experts face is trying to achieve a healthy, balanced nutrition of the Western Ground Parrots, essentially mimicking its natural diet in the wild. If the parrots' diet is off, it could hinder their ability to reproduce while leaving them susceptible to disease and illness. And being that there are so few Western Ground Parrots left in existence, data regarding its diet, feeding behavior, and other characteristics is minimal at best.
Arthur Ferguson of the Perth Zoo noted, however, that they will be providing the Western Ground Parrots with "multiple nesting opportunities" in an effort to encourage breeding. This includes the use of both artificial and natural nesting sites, which they believe will create a greater sense of security among the critically endangered birds.
"Apart from that we'll be providing the birds with multiple nesting opportunities, we'll be providing artificial nest sites, as well as what we believe will be more naturalistic nest sites, for the birds to try and promote a sense of security and really hopefully encourage them to breed," said Perth Zoo's supervisor of Australian Fauna, Arthur Ferguson.
Without Perth Zoo's program, the Western Grounding Parrot could face extinction. Parrots are often on the forefront of extinction due to their ever-dwindling habitats. Conservation groups have saved numerous species in the past, however, so let's hope they can do it again.