Rare endangered parrots illegally smuggled from Dominica

Rare endangered parrots illegally smuggled from Dominica

By TDN Wire Staff

March 19, 2018 5:13 P.M

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Both species are found only in Dominica's unique rain forest
Roseau, Dominica (TDN) - Dominica is reeling from the news that its rare and exotic parrots have been illegally smuggled out of the country with the assistance of government workers.

Reports out of Dominica indicate that on Saturday morning two officials of the ministry of agriculture entered the Parrot Aviary in the Botanical Gardens with a German visitor who is believed to be involved in the raising of exotic birds in Germany.

They reportedly left with two sisserou and ten jaco parrots. The birds were then hustled to the airport and flown out by a special charter flight originating from Venezuela en route to Germany. Both the jaco and the sisserou parrots are only found on the island of Dominica. Their numbers were decimated by Hurricane David in 1979 and to a lesser extent by poaching and capture.

At one point there was believed to be less than 50 of the sisserou parrots and about 100 of the jaco. As a result, they were both placed on the endangered species list.

At the same time in the mid 1980’s the government introduced laws to protect the birds making it illegal to capture or remove them from their natural habitat.

This was backed up by serious efforts at enforcement including the arrest and prosecution of some offenders, and use of the aviary as a means of raising and caring for the birds.

The parrots were making a great comeback with scientists believing that their numbers had returned to pre David levels. However, it is believed that they once again were severely impacted by the recent passage of Hurricane Maria in September 2017, so this theft could not come at a worse time.

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The magestic sisserou parrot
It is alleged that the rare and exotic birds may have been sold for an undisclosed amount of money.

One distraught caretaker of the birds took to social media to indicate “reporting to work after reading a news article with hope that what you read was untrue. Well the news article was indeed true in some aspect that the birds are gone.

I’m thankful I was able to help in restoring these birds health. In the conservation field, at times you feel defeated but you should not give up. One lonely bird left and we decided to call it lefty,” he added.

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