Liberating Wings: Stopping the Poaching Now!


Join us on the path to liberating all

by stopping the poaching now

People often tell me that I have a dream job that includes traveling to Latin American countries and seeing large rainbow parrots fly over my head, the warm air causing them to soar along with my joy. It is a wonderful privilege, but it is also a great burden. In every country in which I work, I hear stories of chicks lost to poaching, and children unable to escape the poverty, corruption, drug trade, and violence of their communities. My heart is full of beauty and wonder, while also breaking. My body feels the stress of being overwhelmed, and it's like someone kicks me in the gut when I hear almost every day, and often several times a day, stories and evidence of how parrots lose their chance to fly, have families, and flourish.

Poaching tears young chicks from their nests and families and dooms them to a life of clipped and often broken wings, poor nutrition, and isolation. Let's not let what happened to Rosa (two broken wings and two broken legs, see below) happen to any more!

​I have an urgent sense that the poaching must stop, now, though the trapping of wild parrots for the pet trade has gone on for a long time. Much of this trapping spiked in the 1980's when the demand for pet parrots in the USA increased dramatically. Thousands of parrots were taken from their homes every year, from each country, and the lucrative trade, although now illegal in the USA, remains entrenched today in many countries. In all but one country in Latin America (Guyana) it is illegal to poach wild birds, though it continues in a challenging context of nearly complete impunity, weak state presence, intimidation, and violence, threatening communities’ current and future opportunities for sustainable development. In many areas in which we work the poaching is 100% - no chicks escape the illegal wildlife trade. Estimates are that 90% of all chicks will die within their first year during transport or in their first homed year. This results in a tremendous loss of life and suffering beyond measure, and much of the forces that result in the wildlife trade are also rendering human communities bereft of opportunity, safety, and health.

​Whom do we nourish? How do we choose? By helping the people of Latin America, you are helping the birds and the forest, and yourself. When you help the birds, you are helping the forest and the people. Liberating one is liberating all.

​​Because both parrots and people are in peril in these countries, One Earth Conservation has promised to improve the lives of parrots and people in the Americas. We follow through on this promise by acting upon our foundational conservation vision:

​​​One Earth Conservation stands in solidarity and witness to threatened parrot populations and the marginalized human communities that protect them, and through consultation and capacity building, we aim to stabilize and recover parrots while contributing to the overall health of human individuals, organizations, and communities in Latin America.

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​​​One Earth accomplishes this through these goals:

​​To stop the negative impact of poaching on individual parrots and species in Latin America.

​To grow capacity in avian conservation medicine and parrot conservation in Latin America.

​To improve the lives of homed parrots in Latin America.

​To instigate and then initially support parrot conservation projects in the most needed areas.

Needed areas are defined as:

​Where there is very little to no parrot conservation efforts or capacity

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​Where communities are marginalized due to socioeconomic factors

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​Where there are endangered birds

​Where we can have the most impact for our size​

​Where there is little funding​​​

Our projects in Central America (for more information see our Annual Reports)

​To turn around this situation, we need to dream big and make dramatic changes to our relationship with the earth and each other. Please dream with us and join us on the journey - everyone can take some of the following small steps that we invite you to take.

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​1. Nurture yourself and ask others to nurture you so you have the resilience for this work.​

​2. If you have parrot, or have ever enjoyed one that is far removed from their country of origin, be it in a zoo or on a television show, your joy is tied in with a long history of harm and suffering. The very first trafficked birds out of Latin America went back to Europe on Columbus's ships. Before then, indigenous people of the Americas traded, bred, and kept macaws in captivity to harvest their feathers and to sacrifice them. Do not let this over tax you with guilt, but instead let this guide you in loving the beauty and promise of the birds ever more deeply so that you can tell the story to others, so that together we can do something BIG!