Saturday’s Featured Organism: Psittacula krameri

Psittacula krameri

I can't post this under the "Face to face" imprint because I'm a fuckwit and couldn't take any photo of the parakeets I saw, so here's a "Friday's Featured Organism" article and a stock photo from Google Images. Enjoy.

I’m back home, but this organism is still relevant to my short but sweet roman trip. Wait, what? A parrot like Psittacula krameri in an italian city like Rome? Fuck yes. Ring-necked Parakeets escaped or freed from captivity (they’re popular pets, after all) have been relatively common in many big european cities with warm climate for years now. I had seen them in Barcelona some years ago, so I read about them and discovered that they were in Rome too. However, I had started to think that the roman population was starting to die out, since I frequently visit Rome and I had never seen them. Until the other day, when I discovered a huge colony in a beautiful garden near the Appian way. There were dozens and dozens of beautiful emerald-green parrots flying around, many of them carrying twigs to help building the many enormous colonial nests on the pines nearby. The birds, and the fact that the park was so green and full of palm trees gave the impression of being somewhere in the garden of a powerful and ancient asian king.

While it’s an alien species (and alien species in general are one of the biggest danger to global ecosystems) I don’t think that the Ring-necked Parakeet causes any trouble to local biodiversity, especially since, at least here in Europe, it’s confined to big cities, as far as I know. So I, for one, welcome our new parakeet overlords.

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Wild Boars in Circeo

Chillin’ in Rome right now (also, I’m writing this post from my phone, so sorry if it’s not very articulate). Yesterday I visited the Natural Park of Mount Circeo, which is part of the MAB (Man And Biosphere), a programme aimed at biodiversity conservation and management all around the world. I visited the forest portion of the park, and it’s beautiful, with enormous trees and a tipically mediterranean vegetation. Parts of the forest are partially flooded with water, especially during autumm, creating vast natural pools. Also, for the first time ever, I had a face to face with a group of wild boars (Sus scrofa), four huge, fearsome looking individuals. At first I thought they were inside an enclosure like the other animals at the entrance of the park, then I realized there was no real fence between me and them: they just entered the garden of the building of the park rangers to find something to eat. When we stopped the car (we where about to leave the park after a brief excursion by foot) they stared at us for a few seconds and then quickly disappeared in the forest (so I have no photos of the encounter, sadly). Boars are fascinating animals, but in many areas they can be a real problem, ecologically and economically: they are present in vast numbers, and can badly damage endangered vegetation and crops. The forest of Circeo was full of the holes they dig in search of roots and bulbs, for example, and the hills near Bologna, my city, are even worse in some areas.