KRALENDIJK — Over 100 rare parrot chicks and native parakeets that were confiscated on Bonaire last year were successfully set free in the open air, according to the website from the World Nature Fund Netherlands last Monday.After an anonymous tip STINAPA (Foundation National Parks Bonaire) and the police discovered these young birds in July 2011 at an illegal dealer. It regards rare Geelschouder Amazon Parrots, locally known as the Lora, and West-Indian parakeets, named ‘Prikichi’.
The chicks, some hardly one week old, were found in a sorry state. At the request of STINAPA – partner of the World Nature Fund – foundation Echo took them in and cared for them. Echo labors for the protection of the Lora that is threatened with extinction.
The volunteers of foundation Echo and Young Bonaire worked round the clock last year, caring for the birds and preparing them to be set free in the Bonairean nature. Unfortunately, of the 112 birds that were confiscated, one hadn’t survived.
Parrots are very popular pets. The pressure on the wild population increases because parrots rarely reproduce in captivity. The illegal trade in parrot chicks is a huge problem worldwide and Bonaire is not an exception. The chicks are taken from the nest at a very young age and subsequently usually shipped to neighboring island Curaçao where they are sold to international operating pet dealers. According to Echo-director Sam Williams, it’s been established that in the past six years on Bonaire, one out of three parrot chicks was illegally taken from the nest. As a result these beautiful birds are threatened with extinction.
The population of the threatened Geelschoulder Amazons on Bonaire is highly important for the species worldwide. Although the parrots are also found in Venezuela, this species is also being threatened thanks to poachers. Approximately 400 to 1000 of these parrots are still alive on Bonaire.
The Geelschouder Amazon Parrots were also seen on Aruba in the past but are now extinct due to the intensive trade.
In September 2011, the illegal dealer was given a suspended sentence of 10 months, 180 hours volunteer work and a 2000-dollar fine. It’s illegal since 1952 to steel, kill, or sell the protected parrots and their eggs or to have these birds as a pet on Bonaire.