Recently, the St. Vincent island underwent the eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano. The eruption happened for the first time since 1979 and erupted 32 times in nearly a month. It displaced over 20% of the island’s population, disrupted water supplies, and created a blanket of heavy ash on the island’s parts. The eruption also impacted the endangered St. Vincent parrots, and to save them, The Houston Zoo is closely working with the St. Vincent Forestry Department.
The Houston Zoo is the only place in North America, outside of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean, that breeds the St. Vincent parrots. It is home to ten of them, which either have been born in the zoo or rescued. After learning about the eruption, the zoo authorities immediately connected with St. Vincent Forestry Department to offer help and discuss immediate and short-term needs to save the species.
“We had to act fast to find out how we could help,” said Renee Bumpus, Houston Zoo Senior Director of Wildlife Conservation. “I have worked with conservation colleague Bradford Latham, the St. Vincent Forestry Department’s Unit Supervisor, in the past, so I reached out to offer the Zoo’s support.”
How is Houston Zoo helping the St. Vincent Forestry Department?
The department has requested training opportunities and an exchange of knowledge. In response, the zoo conducted training on its reproduction experience and provided resources to the department’s animal care staff. Additionally, it is facilitating hiking boots to the department’s staff members to enable them to trek through the affected parts of the island to conduct a census and monitor the wildlife population. It will help them determine the remaining number of wild parrots and their locations across the island.
Of course, determining the number of parrots is quite challenging, considering the volcano’s impact on the island. However, the department’s staff members have lately heard and seen a few wild parrots. So, there’s hope.
Besides, the eruption happened during the parrots’ breeding season. Accordingly, the department authorities are now searching for adults with chicks. The team will build supplementary feed stations to help the remaining wild population until vegetation growth on the island.
Why is your visit to the zoo crucial?
A portion of every zoo admission and membership supports wildlife conservation. So, your visit to the zoo will prove crucial toward the rescue of the St. Vincent parrot and other animals in the wild.
About the Houston Zoo
The Houston Zoo is an almost a century-old zoo that aims to protect wildlife, and over the years, has become a popular place among families from Houston’s diverse communities. It is located at 6200 Hermann Park Drive Houston, TX 77030. For more information on the zoo, visit https://www.houstonzoo.org/.
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