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Dear Parrots magazine,

Moluccan Cockatoo’s status

In the book, Cockatoos in Aviculture by Rosemary Low, she writes “Roland Wirth* stated: The Moluccan … Cockatoo in the wild might become extinct long before the Imperial Amazon … At the time of writing, the estimated population of the Imperial Amazon in the wild was 80 birds, with only one in captivity on the island and a rumoured four birds outside Dominica.”

I know that unlike the Imperial Amazon there are many Moluccan Cockatoos in captivity. But in their former habitats, as of 2017, what is the Moluccan Cockatoo’s status?

Are they believed to be extinct in the wild, today?

I look forward to your answer! Thank you for all your help.

Dr Allen M Dresher, USA

*Wirth, R (1990) ‘Moluccan Cockatoos and other Indonesian Parrots’ Proceedings 2nd International Parrot Convention Loro Parque, Tenerife.

Rosemary Low has kindly responded to this letter, as follows:

‘The Moluccan Cockatoo is definitely not extinct – Roland Wirth's forecast was pessimistic. However, because of the terrain and other difficulties on Seram, there has not been a census since 1998. Deforestation and illegal trapping continue, so the species is known to be declining. Its IUCN status is Vulnerable, which is not a high threat category. But, of course, if deforestation becomes more severe, its numbers could plummet. Also, because of heavy trapping in the past, the population is probably an ageing one, which means numbers could suddenly crash.’




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