Australian state releases critically endangered honeyeaters to restore its population

2021-10-28 09:05:52 GMT2021-10-28 17:05:52(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

SYDNEY, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- The government of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has released 58 regent honeyeater birds in bushlands north of Sydney in efforts to restore the species' dwindling wild population.

During Thursday's announcement, Executive Director of Biodiversity and Conservation under the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Sharon Molloy said the release is the latest move under the "Saving our Species" project, to reintroduce the birds bred in zoos across Sydney back into the wild.

"The released birds are part of a breeding program with Taronga Conservation Society Australia, BirdLife Australia and the government's Saving our Species program, so we can boost the very low wild population of regent honeyeaters," said Molloy.

Under the project, some 600 honeyeaters have been reintroduced into the wild since 2000.

The regent honeyeater has long been threatened. In 2015 its status under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act was upgraded from "endangered" to "critically endangered."

Bushfires that devastated large parts of Australia in the summer of 2019-20 pushed the species further to the brink, after which less than 250 were estimated to remain in the wild.

The site for the release of the flight of birds was chosen carefully in an area that the regent honeyeaters would have shared with aboriginal Australians long before British settlement.

"It is the cultural connection as much as the land and ecological connection that gives us hope and optimism for this species," said Molloy. "That is something truly special and that I know will help these birds as they take flight."

Based on this, the conservation experts have been able to confirm that the ecological factors of the area, such as the abundance of nectar trees, would allow the birds to thrive.

After their release, the birds' movements will be closely monitored by both the Saving our Species program and BirdLife Australia.

Avid bird watchers have been encouraged to report any sightings of the bird in nearby national parks or private properties. Enditem