Critically Endangered Parrots Prepare to Board Plane for 'Assisted' Annual Migration

Sixteen orange-bellied parrots underwent final health checks at Victoria’s Werribee Open Range Zoo in September as they prepared to board a plane to Tasmania for their “assisted” annual migration.

The critically endangered birds would, under normal conditions, navigate their own way to Tasmania for breeding season. However, given the circumstances, conservationists with Zoos Victoria decided to intervene and “lend a helping wing.”

Now in its second year, the orange-bellied parrot conservation program sees wild birds collected in Tasmania at the end of breeding season and flown to Victoria to be housed over the winter, before being returned to Tasmania in Spring.

Zoo veterinarian Paul Eden said this program was essential for this species to survive, now that less than 30 of these parrots remain in the wild.

In this video, zoo veterinarians microchip the parrots and perform final checks for diseases and parasites. Credit: Zoos Victoria via Storyful