The Puerto Rican parrot population recovers

Frances Rosario (Primera Hora) reports that, not only have the Puerto Rican populations recovered, but there are already more specimens recorded than before Hurricane María caused major mortality rates in 2017.

Almost four years after Hurricane María destroyed efforts that were made for many years to preserve the Puerto Rican parrot, this native and endangered bird has shown an impressive recovery. The outlook is very encouraging, to the extent that there are already more parrots in the wild than before the hurricane hit the island on September 20, 2017, with winds of 155 miles per hour.

The two professionals who lead the projects to keep the species alive are so pleased that they speak about their future plans with great optimism. These plans include the release of birds in the State Forest in Maricao by early 2022.

“In general, things are going excellent. We are very pleased and excited with the progress the post-Maria recovery has made,” said Tanya Martínez, leader of the Puerto Rican parrot recovery project of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) in the Río Abajo Forest in Utuado.

Before Hurricane María hit Puerto Rico, there were about 180 Puerto Rican parrots in the wild between the El Yunque National Forest, in the east, and in the Río Abajo de Utuado Forest.

The cyclone wreaked havoc on the parrot population. Its greatest effect was on the population of 50 parrots in western El Yunque. There, all the wild birds died, indicated the leader of the recovery project of the federal Fish and Wildlife Service, Marisel López.

In the Río Abajo Forest, which is the protection center for the Puerto Rican parrot operated by the DRNA, there were 134 wild parrots. There, 40% died, representing about 50 additional birds, Martínez reported. “There was an overall reduction of the species in its wild range of 60%. 60% of the parrots in the wild disappeared,” emphasized the official.

Deaths in the captive population were minimal.

After the 2021 reproduction cycle of the Puerto Rican parrot ended last month, there are now 170 wild birds in the Río Abajo Forest. In El Yunque, the wild population is 30. In total, there are 200 Puerto Rican parrots roaming freely through both forests, which is more than the 180 that existed before Maria’s devastation.

Translated by Ivette Romero. For original article (in Spanish), see

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