Zoos Victoria's Conservation team is making a real difference for wildlife this year as we continue our fight to save some of Australia's most iconic yet Critically Endangered bird species.
Saving wildlife is not what we do, it's who we are.
It is with your support that this ongoing care is possible – thank you.
Much-loved species such as the Orange-bellied Parrot, Helmeted Honeyeater and Plains-wanderer are challenged by the triple threat of habitat loss, climate change and predation.
One of only a few migratory parrot species in the world, the Orange-bellied Parrot is Critically Endangered.
Our Conservation team is playing a key role in the recovery of this species by maintaining a viable captive population at our zoos to insure against the extinction of the Orange-bellied Parrot in the wild. Our captive population also provides birds for annual releases to the wild both at the breeding site in Tasmania and in Victoria.
Dr Paul Eden's story
Paul has been working with Orange-bellied Parrots for nine years now, half of that time spent as Chair of the Veterinary Technical Reference Group, an expert panel of veterinarians that provides advice and recommendations to the team tasked with saving the bird.
“Over many years, there has been considerable effort put into ensuring the Orange-bellied Parrot doesn’t become extinct on our watch,” says Dr Eden. “Things were very close in 2017, when only 19 birds returned to the breeding grounds, and of these, only three were female. This effectively meant a breeding population of only six birds – three female, three male – and would have produced a very poor result for that breeding season were it not for the release of captive-bred, Orange-bellied Parrots to support breeding efforts in the wild.”
The recovery team is hopeful that the future of this precious bird is looking bright. The most recent season saw 70 Orange-bellied Parrots return to their breeding grounds at Melaleuca in the remote Tasmanian wilderness.
Donate now and support our continued efforts to secure the future for this precious species.
No other bird like it in the world, Plains-wanderers.
In evolutionary terms, Plains-wanderers are completely unique. They are genetically distinct from any other species on the planet and are the only living members of their evolutionary line, the ‘Pedionomidae’ family.
Once found from South Australia, through Victoria and up into Queensland, the Plains-wanderer has sadly undergone a dramatic decline in the last decade, making it now Critically Endangered and under imminent threat of extinction- the best estimates suggest there may be as few as 500 left in the wild.
One of our challenges in saving the Plains-wanderer is ensuring they have everything “just right”: from the vegetation in their habitats to when and how they interact with other birds. The purpose-built aviary for Plains-wanderers, which opened at Werribee Open Range Zoo in 2017, is integral to helping understand these particularities. It’s also been the place where the first cohort of captive-bred Plains-wanderers were born and raised for wild release.
In April 2021, the first wave of captive-bred Plains-wanderers were released into the wild – the first of six releases in a three-year trial to help the recovery team understand what they need to do to ensure the species’ survival.
The official bird emblem for Victoria, The Helmeted Honeyeater is also Critically Endangered.
Will you join us and our partners to continue to save the Helmeted Honeyeater from extinction?
Our Conservation team began a recovery program for the Helmeted Honeyeater in 1989 and today we continue our commitment to increasing their numbers in the wild through captive breeding and release and habitat restoration.
Our program also aims to reduce potential threats to their existence and by establishing multiple wild populations to help secure a long-term future for this iconic bird.
There are now about 210 Helmeted Honeyeaters in the wild at Yellingbo– a figure that represents huge strides towards the bird’s recovery; at its most threatened, there were as few as 50. But it’s not out of the woods yet.
It is with your continued support this year that we can move these precious birds off the Critically Endangered list as we continue our collective fight for a future rich in wildlife.
Hope is on the Horizon
Meet some of the passionate people behind Australia's most exciting conservation programs as they share their experiences from out in the field and on the front line saving our precious birdlife.