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    Tasmania’s swift parrot can go extinct in 16 years

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    Melbourne, March 27 (IANS) The iconic Tasmanian swift parrot can soon follow the dodo as researchers have found that the bird is facing population collapse and could become extinct within 16 years.

    The research, published in the journal Biological Conservation, predicted that the population of the birds would halve every four years, with a possible decline of 94.7 percent over 16 years.
    “Swift parrots are in far worse trouble than anybody previously thought,” said leader of the study professor Robert Heinsohn from the Australian National University (ANU).
    “Everyone, including foresters, environmentalists and members of the public will be severely affected if they go extinct,” Heinsohn pointed out.
    Swift parrots are major pollinators of blue and black gum trees which are crucial to the forestry industry.
    The five-year study discovered that swift parrots move between different areas of Tasmania each year to breed, depending on where food is available.
    The new data was combined with a previous study that showed that swift parrots are preyed on heavily by sugar gliders, especially in deforested areas.
    The sugar glider is a small, omnivorous, arboreal and nocturnal gliding possum belonging to the marsupial infraclass.
    A moratorium on logging in swift parrot habitat is needed until new plans for their protection can be drawn up, co-researcher Dejan Stojanovic, also from the ANU, pointed out.
    “Current approaches to swift parrot management look rather inadequate,” he said.
    “Our models are a wake-up call. Actions to preserve their forest habitat cannot wait,” he noted.

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