The Orange- bellied parrot, declared critically endangered species, has the minuscule population of less than 15 left in the world. This dying breed found only in Tasmania, Australia, will be completely wiped out from the face of the earth, if measures are not taken soon. Psittacine Circoviral Disease (PCD) — commonly known as beak and feather disease, has been cited as the common cause for its rapid disappearance. A new ground breaking research has developed a vaccine that may be able to save them from complete extinction.
Charles Sturt University (CSU) in southern New South Wales are ready with the first vaccine for PCD that may soon be used by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), once it is approved. This vaccine has taken more than 10 years to be developed and is the much-needed silver lining for endangered birds that are at the fear of going extinct.
The distinct bird, from the parrot family, came into limelight in 1979, when Ornithologist Mark Holdsworth, spotted it. Then there were around 500 remaining. Since then, the population of this bird has seen a steady drop due to this fatal infection. Holdsworth has become a crusader in saving these birds and is an active part of this study. Presently, 400 orange- bellied parrots are being bred in captivity.
PCD, affects parrots, cockatoos, lorikeets and birds in the psittacine family. Once infected, the birds start losing their feather. The infection spreads and has been irreversible. It infests and easily colonizes.
The new vaccine promises to be potent as the components and structure of the virus has been studies over a decade to arrive at the solution. One gram of the protein constituent was is enough to generate 10, 000 vaccines.