December 17, 2012—On the Eastern Cape of South Africa, a National Geographic explorer races to save parrots ravaged by a deadly virus.
A deadly virus pushes parrots to the brink of extinction.
Hi I'm Lucie McNeil and this is National Geographic On Assignment—your link to thousands of Nat Geo explorers out in the field.
Today, we're off to South Africa's Eastern Cape where National Geographic's Steve Boyes fights to save the last remaining Cape Parrots.
Deforestation has wiped out the parrot's main food source, the fruit of the Yellowwood tree.
Alternate food sources leave them more susceptible to a devastating beak and feather disease. Now there are as few as 1000 left in the wild.
Steve's team recovers sick parrots and helps nurse them back to health.
SOUNDBITE: Steve Boyes: "We're really excited, we're actually going to do the release now."
For months, Steve's been caring for these recovering birds
SOUNDBITE: Steve Boyes: "When I found them, they were in really bad condition. To see them go back—dead birds flying—was a very special thing."
With so few left, the life of every parrot counts.
That's National Geographic On Assignment—your link to our Explorers.