Curacao sends back smuggled parrots and macaw after stopping Venezuelan vessel

Thursday, August 19 2004 @ 06:10 AM UTC

Contributed by: MikeSchindlinger

Authorities in neighboring Curacao indicate that the island will return 14 parrots and 1 macaw parrot that were illegally taken from Venezuela to be sold abroad.

The birds had been snatched in Falcon and Delta Amacuro States and sold. On May 18, Curacao police boarded Venezuelan boat Sol de Caribe, seizing 30 parrots illegally transported without proper care.

Environment & Renewable Resources (MARNR) Biological Diversity Office's wildlife department director, Edis Solorzano says the contraband of wildlife is the third biggest illegal business in Venezuela after drugs and arms.

* Vitalis environment group president, Diego Diaz says macaw and maracana parrots are highly prized and sought after for sale to foreign buyers.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) members based in Curacao has helped to cut red tape to get the parrots back to Venezuela. However, some of parrots died before arrival and others afterwards owing to the condition of capture and transport.

Solorzano says the delay in returning the birds is owing to the fact that they must be kept in quarantine and that special cages must be built ... "on arrival in Venezuela the parrots will be interned in Caricuao zoological park and later returned to Falcon and the Delta Amacuro regions where they belong."

MARNR officials complain that the only way to stop the illegal trade is to convince local inhabitants not to deforest their region.

National Guard (GN) Regional Command No.4 (CORE-4) commander, General Omer Carmona reports that even flamingos from the Los Olivitos swamp in Miranda municipality are considered legitimate targets for illegal traders.