Action: Relocate nestlings to reduce poaching
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A replicated before-and-after study in Venezuela found significant decreases in poaching rate and increased fledging rates of parrots after wild chicks were moved into police premises each night.
Nestlings are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, as they cannot fly and are confined to nests. This is especially problematic with species such as parrots that are exploited for the pet trade, as nestlings can be easily raised in captivity and sold on. Moving nestlings into safer areas may reduce the threat of exploitation, but is likely to be expensive or time-consuming. In the study below, chicks were taken from nests overnight and then returned in the morning, something that is only likely to be possible for species under very intense management.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated before-and-after study in 2008-2009 (part of a longer study from 2000-2009) in 15 monitored yellow-shouldered parrot Amazona barbadensis nests in tropical forest habitat on Margarita Island, Venezuela (Briceño-Linares et al. 2011) found that moving nestlings into municipal police premises overnight significantly decreased poaching rates. In 2008, the municipal police received the birds nightly during the breeding season, which brought poaching rates down from 60% at the end of 2007 to 16% in 2008 and 1% in 2009 (with the help of the National Guard). The Macanao municipal police helped with surveillance in the field and escorted the fledglings every night to police headquarters instead of the local field base. In 2009, birds were taken nightly to the National Guard headquarters. Overall, the fledging rate doubled while the poaching rate was halved from 2000-2009 compared to pre-intervention period of 1990-1999 (3.8 and 1.6 birds / nest; 25% and 49% respectively). This study is also discussed in ‘Use education programmes and local engagement to help reduce pressures on species’, ‘Provide artificial nesting sites’, ‘Employ locals as biomonitors’ and ‘Foster eggs or chicks with wild conspecifics’.
- Briceño-Linares J.M., Rodríguez J.P., Rodríguez-Clark K.M., Rojas-Suárez F., Millán P.A., Vittori E.G. & Carrasco-Muñoz M. (2011) Adapting to changing poaching intensity of yellow-shouldered parrot (Amazona barbadensis) nestlings in Margarita Island, Venezuela. Biological Conservation, 144, 1188-1193