Export And Capture Ban Passed As Law
A bill designed to ban the capture and export of wild parrots from Mexico was finally signed into law on October 14, 2008. The bill was introduced to the Mexican Senate a year ago in a report entitled: “The Illegal Parrot Trade in Mexico: A Comprehensive Assessment.” The report was presented by the Defenders of Wildlife and Teyeliz, A.C.
During the report the damaging toll that the illegal parrot trade had on Mexico’s wild parrot populations was made clearly evident. It declared that between 65,000 – 78,500 wild parrots and macaws are illegally captured each year with the intention of selling these as pets. Unfortunately, more than 75 percent of these parrots die before they even have the chance to reach their new home. No wonder the new bill was passed by the Mexican government and Senate unanimously! These statistics clearly made Congress sit up and take note, with the result that the new bill has been signed into law just one year later. According to the director of Mexican programs for Defenders of Wildlife, Juan Carlos Cantu Guzman, an estimated 50 to 60 percent of illegal parrot trade will mostly like come to a grinding halt as soon as the bill takes effect. He also felt that the rate of illegal activity would continue to decline steadily as time wore on.
What does this mean for those already engaged in the illegal trade of native birds? If these individuals are caught with birds that inhabit the protected natural areas of the country, they will face up to 12 years jail time. That’s too steep a sentence for the majority of bird traders. Numbers of illegal bird traders have already decreased quite a bit, first with the threat of government intervention and then later with word spreading about the possibility of the bill being passed via television, radio and newspapers. Now that the bill has been officially published, the numbers of birds being sacrificed to this shameful industry will undoubtedly be reduced even further.
However it seems that efforts to repopulate Mexico’s native wild parrot species will not be ending there. Keeping a wild parrot as a pet in the average household is a time-honored tradition among Mexican families and so the public will need to be educated about the importance of the bill and of not capturing wild birds for this purpose. They will still have the option of keeping captive-bred and legally imported parrot species, but they will not be able to own a wild native parrot any more. This is something that is very necessary, since many Mexican parrots are now being threatened with extinction. As part of these efforts, a new bi-national public education campaign is being planned and should start at around the same time that the new law is passed. Such steps will certainly prove most helpful in helping native wild parrot species to repopulate and recover after such a destructive trade had almost completely destroyed it.