I nominated for, and have been accepted as, Treasure for the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot. We sponsored this organisation heavily when I was at Exetel, and, post Exetel, I am keen to see its objective – to save the Western Ground Parrot species – realized.
Whether that can happen or not remains to be seen. There are only an estimated 110 of these birds left in the wild. The current ‘rescue’ plan hinges on effecting a captive breeding program, removal of feral predators, and re-release of birds bred in captivity.
At Exetel, we funded the trial for the captive breeding program, which involved the capture of 8 birds, conversion of a building to an aviary, and some other time and materials costs. But what we could afford, as a small company, only got us to the end of the trial – proving that yes, it is possible to run such a program on full scale.
Unfortunately, a full scale program is well beyond the means of a small business to fund.
I am going to Albany today to meet up with my fellow comity members, take up the reins as Treasure, and get a handle on just what level of funding is going to be needed. My guess is we will be looking at around $750k over maybe 5 years. A lot of money, a lot of money per bird in fact. But that is what happens at the very pointy end of extinction this species is facing.
Our ‘ace in the hole’ is that I think we can leverage off the fact that any money put into this project can have direct and measurable effect on species survival. Which is very good for potential sponsors who actually want to know, and get some green mileage, from what their conservation dollar is doing.