The salmon-crested cockatoo is now listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Native to islands in eastern Indonesia, the parrot is at risk due to logging in its lowland rainforest habitat, the conversion of forest to agricultural lands, and the domestic and international pet trade.
Originally endemic to the Indonesian islands of Seram, Ambon, Haruku, and Saparua, the salmon-crested cockatoo now occupies habitat almost exclusively in Seram. The population is estimated at 62,400 birds, with the highest densities residing in unlogged lowland rainforest areas.
A predicted increase in El Niño events caused by climate change is expected to compound the threat to the salmon-crested cockatoo posed by logging in Indonesian lowland forests and proposed large-scale land conversion schemes. Both El Niño events and the conversion of forest for agricultural purposes will increase the risk of fire in salmon-crested cockatoo habitat. The pet trade also poses severe risks to wild populations of salmon-crested cockatoos in Indonesia.
Salmon-crested cockatoo in Indonesia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler
In listing the parrot as threatened, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the current implementation of Indonesian laws and international accords is insufficient to halt the decline of the salmon-crested cockatoo.
To protect non-native species under the ESA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (which implements the ESA) will generally prohibit the import or export of the species and their parts or derived products. The ESA also forbids their presence in interstate or international markets. However, the US Fish and Wildlife Service may grant permits for scientific and educational purposes.
Because the salmon-crested cockatoo is a common pet in the U.S., a special rule to take effect this June will permit the interstate commerce of birds already in the country. As these parrots are long-lived, the import and export of salmon-crested cockatoos captured before January 18, 1990 will be permitted in accordance with conditions specified by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Wild Bird Conservation Act. The import and export of all salmon-crested cockatoos taken after January 1990 will be strictly forbidden without an EPA permit.