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How To Keep Parrots Flying Free

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There is not a day that goes by that I don't ask myself this question - how can I and others keep our parrots flying free. The pressure is intense (link to birds that are gone) from the international wildlife trade, leading me to rethink how we might do conservation, as well as seeking bigger and more powerful allies.

Counting parrots with the wildlife club of Fair View village in Guyana, where we went to see how we might support their efforts in conservation.

In the past, One Earth Conservation has worked mostly on the supply side of the market -helping human communities and individuals find other avenues for their well being other than by trapping birds. Currently I believe that we also need to work on the demand side, which we are doing in our None Are Free Until All Are Free project. For the sake of the birds, and for the people and communities where parrots are still flying free, we need as an international community to condemn the practice of selling birds and keeping them in cages. Currently, breeding birds to supply pets does not positively impact the extraction and extinction of parrots from their native lands. If anything, it is making it worse, as it fuels the desire for birds in the home and in collections, and as such, increases their monetary value.

Counting parrots at Iwokrama in Guyana

In every country where I work, I hear one story after another about how international buyers come to an area to buy adult birds, chicks and/or eggs. Recently, in Iwokrama Forest in Guyana, one ranger told me, after seeing our presentation on parrot conservation, "The prices the international buyers offer make it tempting to take what is ours so it will be theirs."

Yellow-crowned parrots flying free in Surama village in Guyana

It is time to stop taking what is not ours to take - the life and freedom of the parrots and the health of biotic communities that depend on the parrots. How do we do this? It's a complicated situation for sure, and perhaps you feel powerless to fight back against a global market economy of extraction. So let's start feeling powerful by coming together to see what we can do now.

Counting along the Letham Road near Iwokrama . We have to take the long road for parrot conservation, but we journey together

Towards this goal, we are promoting and attending a mini parrot conservation conference, "Keep Our Parrots Flying Free," at the Foster Parrots' parrot sanctuary in Rhode Island on Saturday, March 16th, 2019. I will be one of the speakers, as well as Emerson Urtecho from the LOCOs and Fauna and Flora International, our partners on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua. Dr. Lucy Spielman and Danika Oriol-Morway will also be presenting. To find out more and to register, click here. Space is limited so get your tickets now!

Let's keep our parrots flying free by conferencing, and hence, soaring together.

Rainbow during parrot count in Fair View village

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