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Green Parrot Assisted Breeding Project

FNPW Project Focus:
Threatened Species

Project Partners
FNPW & Parks Australia

Location
Phillip Island

The Ark now has a nursery

Phillip Island is considered an ‘ark’ for threatened species conservation. With FNPW’s support, it’s goal is to become the benchmark for habitat rehabilitation and translocation of the endangered Norfolk Island Green Parrot.

In 2013 and 2015 FNPW proudly funded the Green Parrot Assisted Breeding Project with Parks Australia. The project initiated an extensive effort to save the Norfolk Island Green Parrot from extinction and has been met with international attention and gained exposure as one of Australia's most successful threatened species programs. 
32 Norfolk Island Green Parrot chicks have successfully fledged from seven purpose built nest sites which were established in 2013. This is such a promising result considering the population in October 2013 was estimated at 46-92 individual birds.

Part of the recovery program includes a translocation to Phillip Island, the small 190 hectare island, 6km off the south coast and part of the Norfolk Island National Park. Uninhabited by humans it will provide a safe haven for the endangered Norfolk Island Green Parrot, free from predators such as cats and rats.

To be successful in the long term, the rehabilitation of Phillip Island's vegetation needed to be intensified and the establishment of a fully functioning nursery on-site was the next step for planned revegetation programs. It is envisaged that an increased vegetation cover and habitat rehabilitation will improve the opportunities for successful colonisation and breeding of the green parrot on Phillip Island and also benefit the 10 seabird and 2 reptile species listed as threatened on the EPBC.

After successfully applying for further funding in 2015 from FNPW, the hard work began by National Parks staff, volunteers and contractors to build a new tunnel house, repair an existing shade house and construct a plant "hardening off" area. More than one tonne of equipment was delivered by boat to Phillip Island and carried up the cliff to the top of the island where the nursery now stands.

The installation of timed sprinkler systems ensure a constant supply of water when Parks staffs are unable to gain access to the island and a remote camera system is fitted in each tunnel house/shade house to monitor the progress of the plants and the efficiency of the watering system. This is all backed up with a remote system override to switch on the sprinklers in times of need.

The new nursery will enable over 500 native plants to be established on Phillip Island annually and ensure minimum seasonal variation in re-vegetation work. It will also strengthen the quarantine precautions on the island by eliminating the risk of the introduction of soil borne disease.

The first plant germinated was the Phillip Island Chaff Tree, a critically endangered plant found only on Phillip Island.To date, the nursery has also produced good numbers of flax seedlings, a very important plant in halting erosion on the island and likely to be an important food source for the Norfolk Island Green Parrot.

By returning Phillip Island to its previous forested state an enormous opportunity exists in the long term protection of other species such as the Norfolk Robin and the Slender-billed White-Eye while the threats of predators on Norfolk are being addressed.

Viewed as a pilot project, the translocation of the Green Parrot planned for 2017 depends on these seedlings thriving.

Grow strong and propagate!