For polly's sake

 
Published: Wednesday 31 January 1996

ALL-OUT efforts have been launched to safeguard the maroon-fronted parrot, a rare species of parrot which has its home in the towering limestone cliffs of El Taray in northern Mexico.

The parrot, distinguished by a maroon forehead and yellow eye rings, is the size of a pigeon and is found only in this remote high altitude region while other species of parrots mostly live in warm and tropical climates. The Mexican and US governments and several environment groups have now joined together in the bid to preserve the only habitat of these parrots.

Living in crevices of the cliff, the parrots are increasingly under attack as their home is being grabbed up by real estate developers and the trees, especially the pinon pine tree cone which is their source of food, are being cleared to develop vacation resorts. The saviours of the parrot hope that it will soon become a symbol, like the panda, with which the people will identify and care about. Researchers believe that the entire species number to no more than 3,500 birds and hence warrant immediate conservation measures.

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