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Tropical island problem: Too many parrots -
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"The green parrots that live on the tropical paradise of Seychelles fly into the bamboo stalks next to Micheleine Georges' 150-year-old farmhouse at dusk. The birds are small and cute. They are also marked for death. The eradication of the Indian ring-necked parakeet is the goal so that a Seychelles' national bird — the black parrot — may live, those carrying out the EU-funded project say. The black parrot could be wiped out by a disease that the Indian ring-necked parrot carries. At 6:20 p.m., small packs of green parrots began flying up the valley to the bamboo patch beside Georges' house. Gliding in under a bright crescent moon in small groups of three, five or 10 birds, they whoosh into the bamboo, not far from the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg that Georges sells to tourists. An animal-lover, Georges has mixed feelings about the kill mission. She says it would be a "calamity" if the parakeets wiped out the nation's black parrots, but otherwise she enjoys watching them fly in to roost for the night. "They seem to be a part of the evening routine. You finish work, you have a beer on the deck and you see the droves of birds coming up to the trees," she said. The Indian ring-necked parakeet first appeared in the Seychelles in the 1970s, perhaps when a caged pet escaped or was set free, said Peter Haverson, a Briton with a novel job title: avian eradication specialist. The population turned viable in the mid-1980s and by the 1990s it was recognized as a threat. In 2000, when Haverson guesses that the population was only a couple dozen strong, the island began an awareness campaign against the birds." -
"Though graceful and good-looking, the green parakeets have earned the designation of pest. They eat from residential fruit trees and commercial crops. Perhaps of greater concern to Seychelles, they could kill off the nation's black parrots by introducing beak and feather disease, a fatal affliction for the black parrot. The two species don't yet intermingle. The green parrots are only found on the country's main island, Mahe, while the black parrots live on Praslin, 25 miles (40 kilometers) to the northeast. That's likely too far to fly, but biologists fear the green parrots could hop on a ferry and land in Praslin. The Seychelles Islands Foundation eradication project estimates that the island nation now has 230 of the parakeets, a number that would rise to 3,000 birds in a decade if the birds are allowed to live. The parakeets can grow to 16 inches (40 centimeters), twice as big as the budgerigar parakeet, the common house pet, which grows to about 7 inches (18 centimeters)." -
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