Conservation of the endemic Amazons of Dominica

The Imperial and Red-necked Amazons are the two endemic species of the island of Dominica, both seriously threatened. In addition to the devastating effects of periodic hurricanes, their populations have suffered the loss of a significant proportion of forests. Their situation has been affected in recent years by the conflict between protection and the interests of citrus farmers, since these birds are frugivorous and show preference for this type of fruit. Investigation was needed to know in depth the problems and propose appropriate action.

Amazona imperial (Amazona imperialis)
Red-necked Amazon (Amazona arausiaca)
Conservation status: Category EN (Endangered) in the Red List of the IUCN
Wild population (A. imperialis): 150, increasing.
Captive population: Number unknown.

Objectives
Determine the geographic and demographic limitations of the population of these two species and examine their ecological needs. Attain the legal and actual designation of a national park. Assess the real impact of these two species in crop losses on citrus farms located near the primary or secondary tropical forest, to determine the economic significance of the damage caused by parrots as compared to other causes.

Strategies
Carry out sequential censuses of the populations, study their reproductive biology and investigate their natural food preferences. With reference to their diet with citrus fruits, during the seven months that the harvest is possible, the project has studied, through weekly visits, the evolution of the crops and the damage caused to the fruit by passots, other birds and other organisms. Interviews with farmers and others involved have been crucial for obtaining data and also to gauge the feeling of the population on this issue.

Actions
It has been possible to define the geographical distribution of these two species of parrots, as well as an approximate demographic calculation of the populations. Patched of forest under private ownership have been identified, and it has been possible to buy some of these, thus extending the size of the protected region. The actual designation and creation of services for visitors to the Morne Diablotin National Park have been met. So generally the two species of Amazons are better protected. As for citrus, the results of the studies show that there are several important reasons for the loss of crops. The most serious of all is the brown spot, a fungal disease (Phytophthora) which causes severe damage. A moderate incidence of a moth that eats the fruit was also scored, and other factors such as rodents, theft, naturally defective fruit, climatic elements and the parrots themselves, whose action is more severe on farms surrounding the Morne Diablotin National Park. All data collected are being used to contribute to the national plan for protected areas in Dominica.

Dominica
Giessen

Local Partner
Birdlife International
Forestry and Wildlfie Department, Ministry of Agriculture
Rare Species Conservatory Foundation
American Museum of Natural History

Funds since 1987: 187.030 $