U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Releases Finding On Four Parrot Species

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced findings regarding a petition to protect four parrots under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced today its findings regarding a petition to protect four foreign parrot species found on islands in the Philippines, Fiji and Indonesia, including the crimson shining parrot, Philippine cockatoo (i.e, red-vented cockatoo), white cockatoo (i.e., umbrella cockatoo) and yellow-crested cockatoo (i.e., lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo), as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The USFWS found that listing the Philippine and yellow-crested cockatoo as endangered, and listing the white cockatoo as threatened, is warranted and is issuing proposed rules to list these species. In addition, the Service is proposing a special rule for the white cockatoo. If adopted, the proposed rule would allow import, export and interstate commerce of certain white cockatoos without a permit under the ESA, provided the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA) are met. The Service finds that listing is “not warranted” for the crimson shining parrot. The not warranted status for the crimson shining parrot is a final agency action.

The USFWS carefully assessed the best available scientific and commercial information regarding the past, present and future threats faced by these four species. The three species the agency is proposing to list as endangered or threatened face significant threats, particularly due to poaching and habitat loss. The Service did not find information indicating that there were threats to the crimson shining parrot due to habitat loss, overutilization, disease or predation, inadequate regulatory mechanisms, or any other factor occurring at a level that would pose a threat to the species.

The service has made this determination in response to a petition filed on January 2008 by Friends of Animals requesting that the agency list 14 parrot species under the ESA. The USFWS completed an initial review in July 2009 and concluded the petition contained substantial information supporting a full study of the species. On July 28, 2010, a settlement agreement was approved, in which the Service agreed to (in part) submit to the Federal Register by July 29, 2011, a determination whether the petitioned action is warranted, not warranted, or warranted but precluded by other listing actions for no less than four of the petitioned species.

The Service has completed a comprehensive review — known as a 12-month finding — and determined that there is sufficient scientific and commercial data to propose listing three of the species throughout its range.

The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on August 9, 2011.

The Federal Register publication of the rule is available online here by clicking on the 2011 Proposed Rules under Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

Written comments and information concerning the proposed listing, proposed special rule and status review for these species can be submitted by one of the following methods:

The Service intends that any final action resulting from this proposed rule will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and be as accurate and as effective as possible. The Service particularly seeks clarifying information concerning the Philippine cockatoo, yellow-crested cockatoo and white cockatoo, including:

1) Information on taxonomy, distribution, habitat selection and trends (especially breeding and foraging habitats), diet, and population abundance and trends (especially current recruitment data) of these species.

2) Information on the effects of habitat loss and changing land uses on the distribution and abundance of these species over the short and long term (particularly the conversion of habitat to biofuel production on Halmahera Island, Indonesia).

3) Information on the effects of other potential threat factors, including live capture and hunting, domestic and international trade, predation by other animals, and any diseases that are known to affect these species or their principal food sources over the short and long term.

4) Information on management programs for parrot conservation, including mitigation measures related to conservation programs, and any other private, nongovernmental, or governmental conservation programs that benefit these species.

5) The potential effects of climate change on these species and their habitat.

Comments must be received within 60 days, on or before October 11, 2011.

The Service will post all comments on their website. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process.

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