Environment

Jamaica moves to have endemic parrots returned

Sunday, December 11, 2011    

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JAMAICA'S environmental authorities are moving to have the endemic parrots being being housed at the Schoenbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria returned to the island.

"NRCA (Natural Resources Conservation Authority)/NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency) received information in September that endemic Jamaican parrot eggs were confiscated in Austria by customs officials. The authority and the agency took immediate steps to verify the information with the view to seek the return of the parrots," NEPA said in a recent release to the media.

"The parrots are being reclaimed under Article VIII, paragraph 1 and paragraph 4 (b) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is an international treaty governing the import, export, re-export and introduction from the sea of species covered by the Convention," the agency added.

Their statement came days after the Sunday Observer broke the news that the rare Jamaican parrots, smuggled out of the island as eggs by two Slovakians, were a big hit at the Vienna zoo where they were taken after being confiscated by the Slovak authorities earlier this year.


Now the Jamaican authorities are pulling out the stops to have the parrots returned to their rightful home on the island.

"NRCA/NEPA has already communicated with officials in Vienna and will be sending official communication to the Austrian Management Authority, which makes decisions in Austria on CITES-related issues, both directly and through diplomatic channels. NRCA and NEPA are also seeking official confirmation of the species and numbers of Jamaica parrots being housed at the zoo," NEPA said.

Yellow-billed Parrots (Amazona collaria) and Black-billed Parrots (Amazona agilis) are protected under the Wild Life Protection Act. International trade of the species and specimen(s) is regulated by the Endangered Species (Protection, Conservation and Regulation of Trade) Act. A CITES Export Permit is required from the Natural Resources Conservation Authority, Jamaica's Management Authority, in order to legally trade animals on the CITES list.

Anyone found in possession of a Jamaican parrot or any parts of it can face a maximum fine of $100,000 or 12 months in prison under the Wild Life Protection Act and can be fined up to $2,000,000 and/or two years in prison if caught trading in or exporting these birds without a permit under the Endangered Species Act.

Jamaica's parrots are threatened with extinction and are therefore protected. They are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

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