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Dear Parrots magazine,

What is indigenous?

There seems to be a great deal mentioned about the feral Ring-necked Parakeet colonies that are doing well in the UK, and the concern by certain people. Also, the Quaker Parakeet (Monk) seems to be making good headway with populations increasing.

What I am concerned about is what species do we define as ‘indigenous’? If I look up the word in different dictionaries and online, there are some variations in definitions, which in itself is confusing. Indigenous to me is when a species, animal or human, has a line of descent spanning a period of time. And what that time is, is down to consensus, otherwise, we will all be arguing the case until the cows come home!

I think we must accurately define what is indigenous and what isn’t, for if we are to cull certain species of animals, we need to be clear. For example, comparing the Grey Squirrel with the Ringneck Parakeet may well instigate much debate, as the time periods in which they have existed in the UK, varies greatly. And what about other ‘introduced’ animals that have been around for years? So, in order to be clear, will we ever be able to define what is indigenous and what isn’t?

Joe Collinwood - by email




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