From escaping pets to invasive species

This study combines species distribution models and data from missing pet websites to characterize potential bird invasions

Data resources used via GBIF : 7,809 species occurrences
Rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri)

Rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri) by Melissa McMasters. Photo licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Being the most widely introduced parrot in the world, the rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri) is classified as an “extreme threat” to native wildlife and agriculture in Australia. The complete details of the species’ distribution and impact is, however, currently unknown.

In this study, researchers compiled a unique P. krameri dataset from multiple sources including GBIF, missing pet websites and government agencies, and used incursion risk and species distribution modelling to assess the potential distribution and economic impact on agricultural assets.

From 1999 to 2013, the researchers recorded incursions of more than 1100 individual birds, especially in areas around large cities, with Brisbane accounting for more than 40 per cent of cases. These numbers are almost ten times larger than previous estimates, however, far from all lead to actual invasions, as events typically include one or two individuals highly dependent on humans.

The study shows show alternative data sources, like missing pet websites, can be a novel resource for understanding and assessing bird incursions.

Citations

Vall-llosera M, Woolnough AP, Anderson D and Cassey P (2016) Improved surveillance for early detection of a potential invasive species: the alien Rose-ringed parakeet Psittacula krameri in Australia. Biological Invasions. Springer Nature 19(4): 1273–1284. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-016-1332-x.

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