Three Rare Parrot Species will be Protected under the Endangered Species Act

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Three Rare Parrot Species will be Protected under the Endangered Species Act

By Lee Hall, Friends of Animals (FOA)
September 2011

Listing the cockatoos will restrict their importation severely, and thus protect them from being traded commercially within the United States, said Lee Hall, Legal Vice President for Friends of Animals, the group that filed the initial petition to list three communities of birds.

But under certain conditions, exceptions for domestic trade and importation for “conservation” purposes may be allowed, Hall said, because federal agencies focus on “overutilization” and the “illegal” trade. It may remain legal to trade specimens bred in captivity in the United States, for example.

In a big step towards the end of the global trade in birds, all members of three parrot species will gain vital protection under the Endangered Species Act tomorrow. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose to list the Philippine cockatoo and the yellow-crested cockatoo (including all four subspecies) as “endangered” and the white cockatoo as “threatened” due to a variety of threats, most severe among them the illegal collection of these attractive birds from the wild for the pet trade. A fourth parrot species included in the finding, the crimson shining parrot, was found “not warranted” for listing.

“Endangered Species Act protection is key for foreign species taken from their homes for the pet trade,” said Taylor Jones, Endangered Species Advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “Demand for these attractive, intelligent, and vocal birds in countries including the U.S. drives poaching in their home ranges.”

Listing the cockatoos will restrict their importation severely, and thus protect them from being traded commercially within the United States, said Lee Hall, Legal Vice President for Friends of Animals, the group that filed the initial petition to list three communities of birds.

But under certain conditions, exceptions for domestic trade and importation for “conservation” purposes may be allowed, Hall said, because federal agencies focus on “overutilization” and the “illegal” trade. It may remain legal to trade specimens bred in captivity in the United States, for example.