April 23, 2021

Orange-bellied Parrots were released from Lake Connewarre on the Bellarine Peninsula last week, as part of an innovative bid to save the species from extinction in the wild.

This release is part of the Mainland Release Trial, which aims to establish flocks of released parrots in suitable habitats in Victoria – to attract migrating birds to these sites and provide those birds a better chance of surviving the autumn and winter period.

The Orange-bellied Parrot is a migratory species, and each year makes a round trip across the rough ocean of the Bass Strait between south-west Tasmania and mainland Australia.

This project is part of broader recovery efforts that have led to the number of wild Orange-bellied Parrots being at a ten-year high with more than 180 birds expected to migrate from Tasmania to the mainland this Autumn.

Following on from the great success of last four year’s trial, three groups of captive bred Orange-bellied Parrots have been released at three sites in Victoria as part of efforts to boost the population of this critically endangered species.

The sites are near Werribee and Lake Connewarre, Zoos Victoria is trialling a new tracking method this year, having installed six-metre-tall fixed-receiver stations at Lake Connewarre to provide regular data on the locations of the birds.

The trial is supported by Corangamite CMA, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, the Victorian Government’s Icon Species Program, Zoos Victoria, and Moonlit Sanctuary.

Birdlife Australia, Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, and private landholders assisted in preparing the release sites and monitoring the birds.

Corangamite CEO John Riddiford said, “We are proud of our partnership with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Zoos Victoria on this project. The Orange-bellied Parrot is one of the most beloved and cherished birds of the Corangamite Region”.

Corangamite CMA’s Robert Bone said “Orange-bellied Parrots are an iconic, but sadly now very rare, species in the Corangamite region. It is groundbreaking projects like this that are important to ensure it’s survival in the future”.

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