Scientists have transported 25 endangered Puerto Rican parrots to one of the U.S. territory's largest forests in a bid to save the island's last native parrot species.

The birds were placed Thursday in a large cage where they will learn survival skills for a year before being introduced into the wild at the Maricao state forest in southwest Puerto Rico.

Natural Resources Secretary Carmen Guerrero said the forest has the largest plant diversity on the island.

The arrival of the 25 parrots represents a local and federal effort to establish a third population of a bird that saw its numbers dwindle to only 13 in the early 1970s.

Puerto Rico has two other aviaries with nearly 400 parrots and more than 100 others are believed to exist in the wild.