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Bird legislation and protection

Animal trafficking is, along with drugs and weapons, one of the major illegal trades that occur daily in different areas of the planet. Many of the exotic birds that live in different homes come from places where they lived in the wild. The laws, rulings and agreements are intended to ensure the sustainability of these species at all costs and getting biodiversity conservation.

Many species of parrots have suffered excessive captures, dangerously decreasing their wild populations and placing them at the edge of endangered species. The red-tailed gray parrot (“Iacchus”) or Psittacus Erithacus, for example, was the second most traded psittacine worldwide during the 1982-1989 period.

In specialized shops you can find animals that come from legal imports or bred in captivity. The current trend is that the greatest possible number of birds come from breeding. In the United States the entry of wild animals is forbidden and the only birds that can be sold are those that derive from captive breeding. Unfortunately there are certain types of owners, customers and breeders, who are still looking to take animals away from their peaceful and quiet life in nature in order to bring them into captivity.


Among the laws that regulate the possession of exotic species there´s those that are part of the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora”). This treaty is also known as the “Washington Convention”, for the city in which it was signed on March 3, 1973.

Bird rescueImageDeepwater Horizon Response.

CITES ( is there to ensure that international trade in species of wild animals and plants does not become a threat to their survival. An important fact is that since the enforcement of the Convention not one single species covered by the text has become extinguished. These species are listed in 3 appendices which are distinguished by different levels of protection needed by the animals and plants that comprise them:

Appendix I

Includes all endangered species. Trade in these species is allowed only under special circumstances.

toucanThe toucan is one of the protected species by the CITES 

Image / “cuatrok77″.

Appendix II

Includes those species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but trade must be controlled in order to avoid future survival problems.

Appendix III

Contains species that are protected in at least one country, which asks other countries to control the trade of these species. Before the animal´s transfer is allowed, the Scientific Authority shall verify whether the person proposed to have the specimen can take proper care for its physiological and behavioral needs. These species can only move if they were obtained legally and if the transport of the animal has a minimal risk of injury, health damage or abuse.


Despite all interventions to prevent this dirty business, we still hear news of animal seizures and illegal sales, as well as fines to traffic traders. When a specimen has been “ripped” from his place of origin illegally, their arrival at the new destination is traumatic. We should all contribute a bit to this cause denouncing these illegal moves to help many species to live happily in their homes and not ours. When buying an animal of a particular species, you must demand an invoice showing the animal CITE´S animal number and verifying if that species is actually listed in the appropriate CITES Appendix.

big cageImage / “Audrey”.

For a bird to be happy at a human home it´s important to try to maintain their conditions as natural and wild as possible, and studying everything that has to do with its species, care, feeding and disease.