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SCB Recommends FWS Take Steps to Restore Thick-billed Parrot to its Historic Range in the United States

August 20, 2012. SCB submitted formal comments today to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on the draft recovery plan for the Thick-billed Parrot, an endangered species that was extirpated from the United States in the 1930s.  The Thick-billed Parrot is now only found in Mexico and continues to decline there, mostly due to the loss of old growth forests in the mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental.

The Endangered Species Act requires the FWS to develop and implement recovery plans for the conservation and survival of endangered species.  Each recovery plan is required to include site-specific management actions, objective and measurable criteria to determine when a species is no longer threatened, and estimates of the time and costs to carry out conservation measures to recover the species. While the recovery plan for the Thick-billed Parrot contains detailed information about conservation efforts in Mexico, criteria for recovery within the United States are insufficient and lacking in detail.
SCB supports cooperation with Mexico and support of recovery activities in Mexico. However, as a species that was once found in the southwest United States, recovery of the Thick-billed Parrot within its historic U.S. range is also essential.  SCB recommends that the recovery plan should discuss the usage of its authority under Section 10(j) of the ESA regarding the establishment of experimental populations of Thick-billed Parrot within the United States as a means of returning the parrot to its historic range.  In addition, the recovery plan should provide a timeline for the FWS to designate critical habitat within the United States for the Thick-billed Parrot, and identify Federal agency actions that could jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species.  Finally, the recovery plan should discuss possible FWS law enforcement efforts to stem the illegal parrot trade and rescue birds held illegally in captivity.

Read the comments HERE.