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Conservationists Suggest Moving Endangered Species Into Cities

By Kristin Hunt

Animal advocates have been testing all sorts of strategies to help endangered species. They’ve released zoo-bred babies into the wild, mapped trees, and even brewed beer. But now, scientists at UCLA have proposed a truly unconventional solution: introducing vulnerable creatures into our cities.

It’s already happened in Pasadena, where a sizeable population of feral red-crowned parrots have roosted since the 1980s. CityLab estimates roughly 2,000 to 3,000 of these birds reside in the Los Angeles area, and the parrot has a similarly strong presence in pockets of Florida and Texas. Conservationists now believe there are more red-crowned parrots in the United States than in Mexico, the birds’ native home, where the species is considered endangered.

These parrots have led some scientists to argue for “sanctuary cities,” or urban hubs for animals who face extinction. The advocates most recently made their case in Smithsonian Magazine, where they proposed introducing select non-native species to artificial habitats in cities.