During the period September 14 to 17, 2021, sixty staff members of the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour as well as volunteers will journey to five (5) sectors positioned in remote locations of the interior forest of mainland Saint Vincent to conduct a National Parrot census of the Amazona guildingii.
In past years, the exercise of the census was conducted on a biennial (every other year) cycle to determine an estimate of the endangered Saint Vincent Parrot population size in the wild. This was initially started in the year 1986 to determine the population and monitor the trends in the wild population. The most recent census of 2010 recorded an estimated 800 parrots. No census was conducted since then.
The recent eruptions of the La Soufriere volcano, along with the almost annual occurrences of extreme weather events have heightened the need to have a census to determine if these eruptions impacted the wild population.
This is made possible by resources receive from two Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded projects, executed through the UNDP; Conserving Biodiversity and Reducing Land Degradation using a Ridge to Reef Approach, and the UNEP Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (IWEco) Projects.
The methodology adopted by the department will consist of teams conducting dawn and dusk watches in the five sectors which are further subdivided into five watch-points. In the past, census exercises were executed over a 5-week span, one sector per week. With the provision of resources through the joint projects, the census will now take on a different approach and will consist of all sites being observed simultaneously giving the opportunity to make observations throughout the island at the same time.
The Department hopes for favourable weather to allow for this exercise to provide date as it related to the current wild population stock of our national bird, the flagship species of SVG. Other observations will provide information regarding the health of our nation’s forest and the ecosystem services it provides. It is the key to the sustainable development of our nation.