On the evening of September 18th 2017 Hurricane Maria made landfall on the Island of Dominica as a category 5 storm, the strongest ever on record. The forests across the island were left stripped of their canopy, homes and businesses destroyed, lives lost. The social, economic and ecological damage will have a lasting impact on the people and wildlife of Dominica. Island wide changes in habitat and available resources has had a notable impact on bird communities and an especially public impact on the national bird the Imperial Amazon. In the days and weeks following the storm reports started coming in of Imperial Amazons foraging in lowland sites around human settlements, indicating a lack of resources in their natural habitat.
Hurricane Maria was more powerful and devastating than the previous most destructive storm, Hurricane David in 1979. Hurricane David only impacted in the south, whereas Maria stretched across the entirety of the island. Pre-Hurrican David population estimates of the Imperial Amazon were higher than pre-Maria, with the storm decimating the population, leaving an estimated 50 birds. Since the pre-David population was higher than the pre-Maria it is suspected that the current population may be below 50. Therefore, the need to establish a monitoring scheme and recovery programme is more important than ever before.