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Parrots Die by the Bucketful

Updated: Feb 11, 2023

When I was in La Moskitia, Honduras a few months ago several people told me this story of what happened to several illegally traded scarlet macaws. One of the villages in our core conservation area has several families of poachers. They take macaw chicks from wild nests and then transport them by boat or truck to the coast where they can be sold on up the line both internationally and domestically. They have to move the birds clandestinely because of recent efforts by authorities and our conservation project to end the poaching trade in the region.

Parrots, such as these wild scarlet macaw chicks, belong in their nests, not in a bucket or in cages.

This particular batch of ten scarlet macaw chicks were being transported in a bucket in the back of a truck traveling along the dirt road to Pt. Lempira in the summer of 2018. The ride is bouncy and hot enough for humans, let alone young chicks in a plastic bucket. To make matters worse, some soldiers decided to get a ride on the truck with the macaws. The only place for them to sit was on top of the lidded bucket. The poachers didn't dare say anything or take care of the birds, for fear the soldiers would discover the hidden chicks. So the bucket remained closed and by the time the chicks got to Pt. Lempira and the soldiers had off-loaded, the chicks had died.

My heart breaks to hear of a bucket full of dead chicks, because these were chicks from nests we have charged ourselves with protecting. It is a personal loss as well as regional one. Scarlet macaws, the Honduran national bird, are protected under Honduran and international law - they cannot be trapped from the wild and cannot be sold. Yet the dying continues. The stories we hear or the small batches of parrots confiscated are only the tip of the iceberg of what is actually being drained from the forests.

Parrots captured by the hundreds of thousands for the illegal wildlife trade

(Photo courtesy of the World Parrot Trust)

Laws alone don't stop the death and suffering of these birds, people do.

You do. Every time you share these stories or otherwise contribute, you help put an end to this senseless tragedy.

Thank you for your efforts and for bearing witness to what is happening.

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