APR 23, 2018 5:57 PM PDT

Rehabilitation Program Helps Researchers Study Australia's Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

After being cared for by experienced veterinarians at Perth Zoo, a red-tailed black cockatoo has been released back into the wild in Western Australia. It was initially found injured in the wild and was the 500th bird of its kind to be rehabilitated during an ongoing research project involving Murdoch University and partners.

Red-tailed black cockatoos fly free after receiving medical treatment for injuries.

Image Credit: Keith Lightbody/Murdoch University

The goal of the project is to develop a greater understanding of the birds’ lifestyles; this includes behavioral characteristics like foraging, breeding, and roosting patterns, among other things.

Red-tailed black cockatoo populations in Western Australia are allegedly plummeting at an alarming rate, and animal conservationists want to fix that. Unfortunately, experts don’t have much to go by because there aren’t many data records concerning their behavior. This project could fill that gap by providing the data necessary to protect the species from extinction. 

Many of the birds released into the wild as a part of this project are outfitted with advanced satellite and GPS trackers beforehand; these allow the researchers to monitor and analyze the birds’ movements and build a more robust database.

Related: There could be twice as many bird species as initially thought

“Populations of black cockatoos and other fauna are in decline across Western Australia because of the loss of native vegetation to land clearing for agricultural, urban and industrial development reducing the amount of food and shelter available,” said professor Kris Warren from the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences.

“Climate change, competition with other species like bees for nesting hollows, and human impacts like vehicle strikes, illegal shooting and poaching, are also driving the declines, so we need to understand key aspects of their ecology to inform assessments of proposed land uses and enable proponents to deliver best-practice land use for black cockatoo conservation.”

Related: Do tropical birds live longer than their temperate counterparts?

In what seems like a win/win for everyone – humans and animals alike – the project enables researchers to work closely with animal conservationists to make conservation techniques more effective. As a bonus, injured animals that become rehabilitated by the project can return to the wild after receiving top-notch care.

It should be interesting to see what researchers might learn about the red-tailed black cockatoo and its habitat. After all, the fate of the species may depend on it.

Source: Murdoch University

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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