BOOKS: Endangered Parrots
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1995:
Revised edition, by Rosemary Low.
Blandford (distributed in the U.S. by Sterling Publishing Co.,
387 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016-8810), 1984 and 1994.
200 pages; 21 color and 77 black-and-white photos; $24.95 paperback.
Extinction in the wild is inevitable
for many species of parrot. In this revised
edition of her 1984 original, Rosemary Low
paints somber scenes of fading beauty. From
the last Spix macaw left in Brazil to the
unique flightless kakapo of New Zealand,
the beautiful parrots enjoy few safe havens.
Endangered Parrots details the
ongoing losses, habitat by habitat and
species by species. Of the 350-odd known
parrot varieties, more than 100 are imperiled
in the wild, many of them critically.
Loss of habitat is the leading threat
to parrots. Logging, mining, grazing, and
cultivation each take a toll, compounded by
hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, hunting,
slaughter for pest control, predation, dis-
ease, and capture for the pet trade.
Low explores the possibilities of
saving parrots through public education,
habitat protection, and captive breeding, the
last hope for survival of the Spix macaw,
which may never again survive in the wild.
Reintroductions of parrots to the wild have
not so far been very successful. Responsible
reintroductions are enormously complex and
expensive; anything less can be quite cruel to
these highly intelligent and sensitive birds,
whose continued existence will depend upon
humans––who are responsible for their plight
in the first place.
A noted parrot expert, deeply
involved in parrot conservation, Low is
donating the proceeds from her book to the
World Parrot Trust.