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US Fish and Wildlife Service assigns funds for the preservation of the Puerto Rican parrot

By Manuel Crespo Feliciano, Accuweather en Español staff writer
July 27, 2018, 9:20:20 AM EDT

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) granted $11 million to Puerto Rico's Parrot Recovery Program of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER).

The passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria last September on the island of Puerto Rico brought devastation to the areas where the offices in charge of the conservation of the Puerto Rican Parrot were located.

The Puerto Rican parrot (Amazona vittata) is a species protected by federal and state statutes, and it is estimated that the number of species was reduced by almost 50 percent after the devastating weather events last September.

These funds will allow the project to improve its infrastructure , as well as the scope of protection and conservation of this endemic species in a critical state of extinction.

Puerto Rico Parrot Progress

The Puerto Rican parrot, Amazona vittata, is the only native parrot species in Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

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The secretary of the DNER, Tania Vázquez Rivera, said on Wednesday that the assignment will achieve the strengthening of the program that has offices in the state forest of Río Abajo, in Utuado, and in Maricao.

"After talks and meetings at the headquarters of the federal agency in Atlanta, we have achieved this allocation that is vital for the recovery of this species. The project has been looking for more than 40 years to reduce the extinction of the Puerto Rican parrot that is so emblematic for all of us. These funds increase the propagation of success of the program for the reproduction and reintroduction of individuals to the wild state, "said Vázquez.

Vázquez Rivera explained that for the José L. Vivaldi Aviary, in Utuado, $9.7 million was assigned and $1.9 million for Maricao. The funds will be used to build aviaries, cages and structures that are more resistant to atmospheric phenomena.

At the moment, there are 173 parrots in captivity who are trained for reproduction and their subsequent release.

Read the original story in Spanish

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