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Hundreds of Wild Parrot Eggs Poached in Central America

Updated: Mar 21

A wild scarlet macaw nest in Honduras

On my way back from La Moskita, Honduras a few days ago I visited my good friend who is a professor of English at a university in Tegucigalpa.  She invited me to visit her English class where I could not only help the students practice their English, but I could also tell them about their parrots in Honduras. I told them that it had been legal until 1990 to trap and export parrots from Honduras, where over ten thousand birds were removed every year for the wildlife trade. Despite it being now illegal to do this, the parrots of Honduras continue to be trapped and exported anyway, resulting in much harm and loss of life – not just to the parrots but to the people and ecosystems over which the birds fly.

Authorities confiscated illegally trafficked parrot eggs in Pamana

Authorities in Panama confiscated hundreds of parrot eggs in March 2024

(photo by Panorma Económica Panamá)

The students learned that just this past week 240 parrot eggs were confiscated in Panama (photo above) that came from Nicaragua, where the parrots from our project area in Honduras are often taken after they are forcibly removed from their nests. This is the fourth time in a year that couriers from Taiwan have been detained in American airports from the USA to Paraguay. How many more eggs make it through undetected?

Heartbreakingly, the first of the nests from our project were also poached this same week. There is a criminal ring of Taiwanese people whose couriers keep getting captured with eggs, but they do not desist. I imagine their organization must be large and organized and I often feel despair about what can be done to stop them.

The students then began to tell me stories of the parrots in their lives and how they did not know that such harm was happening to their country's birds. This includes the most trafficked and sought after species, the scarlet macaw, which is the National Bird of Honduras. One student, Yeny, told us how her grandmother, with whom she grew up, trafficked in wild animals throughout Yeny's childhood. She then went on to share....

"In my innocence I always believed that it was a form of work and it was not bad. I never thought that it was a crime, but I didn't like seeing animals behind a cage anyway. I am currently 40 years old and I do not like having birds as pets. I think it was all due to what I experienced as a child. I always felt that birds were born to fly and be free. I do not share the idea of having a bird caged or deprived of freedom. God made nature with the intention that we would be good stewards and not dedicate ourselves to destroying it."

Now back home in the USA and receiving daily news of our project's nests in Honduras being poached, I offer a prayer of gratitude to Yeny and the citizens of her country. There are many who dedicate themselves to preserving and cherishing the wild parrots of their homelands. I especially appreciate our teams in Honduras who work 24/7 camping and patrolling to protect what is theirs so it won’t become someone else’s in a far away place. Thank you!

As part of the International Alliance for the Protection of Parrots you can learn more and discover what you can do to stop the demand that is depleting the wild earth of parrots.

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