When wildlife photographer John Young came back from a 2013 expedition into the outback in Queensland, Australia, with photos and video footage of a cute, seemingly unremarkable parrot, conservationists took notice. Now, the night parrot, which had been considered extinct for decades, has been rediscovered by scientists. In August 2015, researchers captured and tagged one of these elusive birds.
The last spotting and capture of a night parrot was in 1912. The discovery of a few dead birds between 1990 and 2006 brought hope to scientists who thought that a small population might still exist in the wild, but the rediscovery of live birds was a cause of celebration for bird lovers worldwide.
After the photos and video were revealed, scientists from Bush Heritage Australia set out on an 18-month hunt for night parrots in the wild. Ornithologist Steve Murphy finally struck gold with the capture of a single bird, which he tagged with a tiny tracker that recorded the parrot’s movements for the next 21 days. Bush Heritage Australia has kept the exact location secret to protect the birds who live there from poachers, and researchers have set up 30 remote cameras in the region to learn more about the species. With so few birds left in the wild, the species may still be in danger of extinction.
In addition to poachers, these birds face are threatened by fire and feral cats. Bush Heritage is working with South Australian firm Ecological Horizons to develop feral cat traps to help keep the birds safe from predation.
While the discovery that the night parrot isn’t truly extinct brings excitement to bird lovers everywhere, many birds all around the world are still in danger. One of the easiest ways you can help is by keeping cats inside where they cannot hunt vulnerable birds. Don’t let your cat be a part of the problem—pledge to keep them indoors and prevent them from harming wildlife!Whizzco