Baranquilla Pet Parrot Campaign
To promote the survival of parrots in Colombia by means of environmental education
Colombia's strategic geographical location, its varied configuration and morphology, and its climatic conditions have favoured the diversity of life forms present on its territory and Colombia is considered the second "mega-diverse" country in the world, having between 10 and 15% of the diversity of species in the planet in only 0.8% of the earth's terrestrial surface. Colombia is also catalogued as the country with most diversity of bird species with more than 1,750 known species, representing 19% of all the bird species in the world. From this total, 66 species are considered endemic of Colombia and other 96 species are considered almost endemic, given that most of their geographical distribution is found within Colombian territory.
However, Colombia is also considered the second country in the world with higher indexes of annual deforestation, close to 820,000 hectares, which is considered the main threat for many species, including birds. According to the "Red Book of Birds of Colombia" 112 species of native birds are threatened with extinction (19 critically endangered, 43 endangered and 50 vulnerable), which corresponds to a 6.4% of the total number of species, and 40 species are considered almost threatened. Out of the 67 species of endemic birds of Colombia, 47 (70%) are threatened (12 critically endangered, 18 endangered and 13 vulnerable).
Just as important and impacting on the survival of Colombian birds is the hunting of live individuals through traps or nest hunting, for consumption, recreation, or even worse for the pet trade, considered as the second major threat for Colombian birds. According to the statistics of the Colombian Ministry, the group of native birds mostly affected by hunting for the pet trade is the parrot family of the Psittacidae, represented in Colombia by 17 genus and 54 species (15% of the world's total), all of them threatened with extinction, and all of them listed under Appendixes I and II of CITES.
It can be shown that the urban population of Barranquilla has a strong tendency to keep wild birds as pets and considers them domestic animals, which reflects the lack of information about their condition of wild species, about the value of these species for the forests and ecosystems, and about the extinction threat they face. Local people are also unaware of the impact of the illegal pet trade on the environment and on the conservation of the country's natural resources.
For this reason, it is of greatest importance to generate information channels and means to create awareness about the drastic consequences of the pet trade of wild species to be able to impact and reduce in the long term the commercialization of birds as pets, as a conservation strategy for this group of animal.
Barranquilla Zoo is therefore up to develop and implement an educational campaign to reduce the use of parrots as pets in the city of Barranquilla and it's metropolitan area. This campaign will follow the example of "Proyecto Titi".
WAZA Conservation Project 04006 is operated by Barranquilla Zoo and supported by the Chester Zoo and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
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