BirdsCaribbean welcomes renewed gov't support for Dominica's native parrots

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BirdsCaribbean welcomes renewed gov't support for Dominica's native parrots

Thursday, October 08, 2020

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WASHINGTON, DC — Bird conservation NGO, BirdsCaribbean, today issued a statement of support for the plan by the Government of Dominica to launch new measures to protect its rare and endemic Sisserou and Jaco parrots.

The statement comes on the heels of a letter from the Ministry of Environment, Rural Modernisation and Kalinago Upliftment, in which the government pledged to, among other things, work with local and international partners to facilitate the return of parrots secretly taken to Germany in March 2018 a few months after Hurricane Maria had ravaged the island.

Other measures to which the Government pledged are parrot surveys, and further repair of the Parrot Centre.

It explained that on March 18, 2018, the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP) took rare parrots from the island, including two Sisserou (Imperial Parrots, Amazona imperialis) and 10 Jaco (Red-necked Parrots, Amazona arausiaca) which had all hatched in the wild after the hurricane. ACTP took the parrots to a private facility in Germany.

The move had sparked international outcry, with several environmental groups lobbying for the repatriation of the birds.

“The export was not approved by Dominica's management or scientific authorities for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES),” BirdsCaribbean said. “Dominica's Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division was not consulted or warned. BirdsCaribbean expressed its deep concern and was among 13 groups that wrote a letter to the United Nations.

“On May 1, 2018, over 40 well-known scientists from around the world wrote to Dominican and German authorities. They urged the return of the birds and an investigation into ACTP. ACTP was the subject of two reports in the Australian Guardian later that year. They were also featured in an article in Audubon Magazine's Summer 2020 issue, among others. These revealed that the group also had removed hundreds of rare parrots from Australia and Brazil, and rare parrots from St Lucia and St Vincent. The articles also revealed that ACTP's director was convicted of several crimes and has no scientific credentials,” the NGO explained.

In today's statement, BirdsCaribbean reiterated its call for the return of the Dominica parrots to the Parrot Conservation and Research Centre in Roseau, and endorsed plans to renovate the Parrot Centre.

“Links with local nature groups and local skill building will provide for a hopeful future for these birds. BirdsCaribbean supports the government's Wildlife Conservation Partnership plan. These forward steps are a welcome ray of light in these hard times,” the group said.

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