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Wild parakeets face a UK cull

By Laura Brown - 27 Apr 2011 10:46:0 GMT
Wild parakeets face a UK cull

The UK government is to remove a species of parakeet from the British countryside because it poses a threat to crops, electricity grids and native birds.

The monk parakeet, originally from South America is vividly coloured with a green back, pale grey chest with an orange beak and blue feathers.

Over 100 to 150 of the birds are believed to live in the wild in Britian, mainly around the south-east.

Named as a nuisance by Natural England in 2009 meaning they could be shot without a licence, they now face a cull after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) designated them an invasive species.

Eating fruit and crops, as well as nesting in electricity pylons, the monk parakeet causes problems for infrastructure as well as crops and native species in other countries and its feared that unless the situation is handled swiftly, a similar situation could occur in the UK

A spokesman for DEFRA told the BBC, ''We want to get rid of the wild population. There will be trapping, re-homing in aviaries and we will probably have to shoot some as well. Non-native, invasive species deprive the British economy of £1.7bn every year.''

The government's decision to take preventative and controlling measures on the invasive species has provoked criticism from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the RSPB who has called for the birds to be re-homed, instead of shot.

As the birds are concentrated in one or two areas in Britain, the charity believes that, while action needs to be taken, culling is not necessary.