Help the endemic parrots of Dominica!

The small Caribbean island of Dominica is a home of two very special birds. They are both parrots, and both are endemic – the beautiful Red-necked Amazon and the magnificent Imperial Amazon! They have always been rare, especially the Imperial Amazon. It is the largest of its genus, with population of no more than 250 birds. It is my dream (since I was teenager and I first read about them in a Czech book – Parrots of the New World) to see them in the wild and my plan was to visit Dominica in early 2019. As you all know, the beautiful island of Dominica, has been devastated by the hurricane Maria, at the end of September. Dominica, as well as the other Caribbean island is well used to hurricanes but this one was the strongest on record to hit the island – category 5! More than 20 people lost their lives, no building was left undamaged and most were destroyed and the pristine forest is affected severely. No tree was spared, all the foliage was blown away. How the parrots’ populations have been affected we do not know yet! When hurricane David hit Dominica back in 1979, the population of the Imperial Amazon was halved and ca. 70 birds were believed to have survived it! And it was not a category 5 hurricane. Few day after Maria devastated Dominica, I have wrote to the leading organizations working to save the endangered parrots worldwide. These are Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots e.V., Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, World Parrot Trust, Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation, Loro Parque Foundation and recently International Fund for Animal Welfare - IFAW. I wanted to know if any urgent expeditions are being planned to Dominica, in order to check the status of the both amazon parrots, to organize supplementary feeding and possibly to find injured birds. ACPT and RARE have replied straight away, a bit latter WPT, and IFAW too. However, the island and its infrastructure are so badly damaged that obviously such an action was not possible. Information about the wild birds status was missing for nearly a month, the news from the equally badly hit Puerto Rico were not optimistic at all. In the recent days, the first news has come – the Red-necked Amazons, or Jaco, as they are called by the local people, have been seen to visit gardens in search of food. And as in some gardens food was provided on a daily basis, the parrots are seeing there every day. However they are only Red-necked Amazons, with small flocks being observed. No Imperial Amazon (Sisserou is the local name) have been seen so far, except a single pair in the same garden! Remarkably, the foliage has started to recover, but it is clear that the birds will face a continuing and prolonged lack of food. Moreover the breeding season is coming. Providing supplementary food on several locations can be crucial for the survival of individual birds and I am asking you to contribute with small amounts of money which will be sent to Dominica. We are already in touch with one of lodges where they put food every day (fruits). It is a 16 acre private land, near the Sultan Falls, close to Ponte Casse, in the center of the island. The lady who owns the property, Nikki Chandler will take responsibility so fruits are provided for the parrots every day and she will also organize more feeding stations. She is quite concerned as no hummingbirds have been recorded and they were very common before the disaster struck! I have also written to the body that coordinates all the donations to the island but got no reply yet! There is no time to waste, so if you are willing to help, please do contacts us. I do hope enough people will donate small amounts of money. Once we accumulate a certain amount, say 1000 EUR, we will send it to Dominica. The more, the better and hopefully more transfers will follow. That e-mail will reach over 1000 birders and nature lovers and small amount from everybody will result in considerable total contribution. If we happen to raise more money, they can be used for field expeditions to try to find out the status of the parrots, especially the Imperial Amazon. Wild Echo will contribute with 300 EUR. Please, join us to help the survival of these beautiful and highly endangered parrots.