April 25, 2011

UK Planning To Rid Itself Of Invasive Parakeet

The British government said this week that a species of parakeet which threatens wildlife and crops will be removed from the wild.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said in a statement that the monk parakeet was an invasive species.

It announced measures to either rehouse the birds, remove their nests or shoot them.

DEFRA said there are about 100 of the birds in the U.K., mainly in the southeast of England.

DEFRA said that they have the potential to threaten "national infrastructure," even though they have not caused any damages yet.

It said extensive damage to crops had been reported in both North and South America, and the birds could cause power cuts when their nests were built on electricity pylons.

A spokesman for DEFRA said it would try to rehouse the birds in aviaries and if that fails their nests would be moved.

"In extreme cases, it could mean we have to shoot some, but we haven't tried that yet," he said.

The 1ft-tall parakeet builds huge communal nests and are identified by their green body, yellowish belly, pale grey face and breast and pale bill.

"Control work is being carried out as part of a DEFRA initiative to counter the potential threat monk parakeets pose to critical national infrastructure, crops and native British wildlife," a DEFRA spokesman said in a statement.

"This invasive species has caused significant damage in other countries through nesting and feeding activity and we are taking action now to prevent this happening in the UK."

A spokesman for the RSPB bird conservation group said "Our understanding is that they are going to be brought into captivity; we don't see it's necessary for them to be culled.

"We're happy action is taking place in that they're being removed from the wild.

"It's a small population at large, as the birds are colonial and are concentrated in one or two sites, so it will be possible to deal with as we think it could be a problem."


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