NRCA/NEPA responds to concerns over illegal export of endemic parrots

December 13, 2011

The Natural Resources Conservation Authority and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NRCA/NEPA) have taken note of the concerns generated by an earlier release which stated that steps were being taken to repatriate endemic Jamaican Yellow-billed and Black-billed parrots which were reported to have been hatched by an Austrian Zoo subsequent to the interception of eggs by Austrian authorities at its border.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international treaty governing the import, export, re-export of species covered by the Convention. CITES outlines, under Article VIII paragraph 1 and 4, the measures to be taken respectively by a state that has confiscated species being transported illegally through or into that state, and the state from which they originate. These measures include repatriation of the species to the state of origin or to an appropriate rescue centre (approved by CITES) in the state of confiscation. NRCA/NEPA has by principle exercised the right to have the parrots returned to Jamaica. This does not preclude any other option once appropriate contact is made with Austria, the state of confiscation. To date, the Management Authority in Austria which handles CITES matters has not reported the interception and confiscation to Jamaica.

All negotiations between the Jamaican and Austrian Governments, through the diplomatic channels of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, regarding the plans for the Jamaican parrots will be subject to considerations for the well being of the birds, the Jamaican environment and the natural heritage/patrimony of the Jamaican people.

Yellow-billed Parrots (Amazona collaria) and Black-billed Parrots (Amazona agilis) are protected under the Wild Life Protection Act. International trade of the species and specimen(s) is regulated by the Endangered Species (Protection, Conservation and Regulation of Trade) Act. A CITES Export Permit is required from the Natural Resources Conservation Authority, Jamaica’s Management Authority, in order to legally trade animals such as the Jamaican Parrots which are on the CITES list.

Persons found in possession of a Jamaican parrot or any part of it, including the eggs, can face a maximum fine of $100,000 or twelve (12) months in prison under the Wild Life Protection Act. They can also be fined up to $2,000,000 and/or two (2) years in prison or $2,000,000 and/or 10 years in prison if convicted in the Circuit Court for trading in these birds without a permit under the Endangered Species Act.

NEPA calls upon members of the public to inform of any illegal activity regarding the possession, sale or trade of Yellow-billed and/or Black-billed parrots or any other protected species. Offences may be reported to NEPA weekdays, (8:30a.m. - 4:30p.m.) toll-free, 1-888-991-5005 at 754-7540 or to the nearest police station.

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