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Royalty of Dominica

Spreads for web 2

By Dennis Nagel

The Imperial Amazon (Amazona imperialis), also known as Sisserou, is a parrot of superlatives.  Not only is it, with 45cm or more in length, the largest example of its genus, it is also one of the rarest Amazons with only three individuals legally existing in captivity.  Unfortunately, it is also one of the most endangered Amazon species.

Endemic to the small Caribbean island of Dominica, the Imperial Parrot is confronted with a variety of threats in the perceived idyll of the Lesser Antilles.  After an historical population loss of about 50 birds following hurricane ‘David’ in 1979, the species recovered slowly thanks to intensive conservation efforts.  Nevertheless, the estimated number of mature Imperial Amazons is still less than 400.  Therefore, it is rated as ‘endangered’ on the IUCN red list and listed in CITES Appendix I and II.  An island-wide, GIS-based Imperial survey - the fourth such effort since 2000 - is presently underway to estimate the Imperial’s current population size and distribution.  The survey is being conducted by the parrot team of Dominica’s Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division with sponsorship from the Loro Parque Fundación and Rare Species Conservatory Foundation.

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