Sail into the South Caribbean with other parrot enthusiasts onboard the Parrot Lover? Cruise. This annual cruise, now in its 5th year, supports parrot conservation and helps raise funds for the World Parrot Trust. It sets sail on October 26 from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and hits the ports of Saint Croix and Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands, Saint Kitts, Dominica and St. George’s in Grenada. Cruise goers will have a chance to explore the islands and local sights. There will also be onboard seminars, from speakers Robin Shewokis of Leather Elves and Jamie Gilardi of the World Parrot Trust, with more speakers to be announced soon. The cruise ends November 2, 2013.
Before you set sail however, participants have a unique chance to visit the Vivaldi (Rio Abajo) Aviary, home of the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program and the critically endangered Puerto Rican Amazon parrots. The Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program helps conserve, protect and manage the wild and captive populations of the Puerto Rican Amazon parrot (Amazona vitatta). As the only parrot native to Puerto Rico, and the last remaining native parrot to the United States, the program wants to help lower the Puerto Rican parrot? status from ?ritically endangered?to ?hreatened.?lt;br />
With only an estimated 33 to 47 mature adult Puerto Rican Amazon parrots in the wild, according to BirdLife International, the program wants to build the population up to at least 500 birds. It is working toward this goal through captive breeding programs and releases. The program is a joint effort of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Those who attend the tour will get a chance to visit the aviary, which is located in the 5,000 acre Rio Abajo Forest Reserve, and is generally closed to the public. While on site, you will meet with members of the Puerto Rican Amazon Recovery team and receive a tour of the facilities. You will learn more about the captive breeding and release program, and you may even get a chance to view one of the parrots that has recently been returned to the wild.
Learn more about the Parrot Lover? Cruise here.
Read more about the Puerto Rican parrot, and the effect of climate change on the species here.
Check out the Puerto Rican Parrot on a U.S. quarter here.
Read more BirdChannel news here.