For Immediate Release
Juan Carlos Cantu Guzman, Defenders of Wildlife, 52-55-55-96-21-08
Peter Jenkins, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-0293
Maria Elena Sanchez Saldana, Teyeliz, A.C., 52-55-52-51-60-96
Mexico Signs Law to Ban Capture and Export of Mexican Wild Parrots
Unprecedented level of protection for Mexico's 22 species of parrots and macaws
MEXICO CITY, Mexico - President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa has signed
into law a bill to ban the capture and export of Mexican wild parrots. The bill,
introduced one year ago by the Environment Commission of the Deputy Chamber, was
passed in the Mexican Senate on 22 April,
2008 with near unanimous
support (66 votes in favor, 0 votes against, and 1 abstention).
The bill was originally
drafted after a presentation of the 2007 report "The Illegal Parrot Trade in
Mexico: A Comprehensive Assessment" by Defenders of
Wildlife and Teyeliz, A.C. The report revealed for the first time the volume of
the illegal trade of parrots within Mexico. An estimated 65,000 -78,500 wild parrots and
macaws are captured illegally each year, with more than 75 percent of the birds
dying before ever reaching a purchaser. Approximately 50,000 to 60,000 parrots
die this way each year in Mexico alone.
"Current levels of trade
in parrots are entirely unsustainable. This bill is a vital step to prevent the
loss of parrot species," said Roger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of
Wildlife. "The bill will also help to safeguard the future of ecotourism in
Mexico. The United
States alone has 85 million birdwatchers, many of whom
are willing to travel to see unique birds like these native
Mexico is home to 22 species of parrots and macaws, of
which six are found nowhere else in the world. Approximately 90 percent of all
parrots and macaws found in Mexico are in some category of risk. The latest Mexican
classification (yet to be published) lists 11 species as endangered, five as
threatened, four as requiring special protection, and two as unclassified.
"In 2007, only six
species of parrots in Mexico were listed as endangered. This new
classification almost doubles that number," said Juan Carlos Cantú Guzmán,
director of Mexican programs for Defenders of Wildlife. "It is readily apparent
that unless we immediately halt the capture and trade in all parrots and macaws,
we could lose these species entirely. This bill signifies a milestone though
which we can finally address conservation and recovery of these unique
Although this bill marks an immense victory for
parrot conservation, much work is yet to be done.
"Defenders of Wildlife and Teyeliz will inform
people of the new capture ban and will seek their support to stop buying wild
parrots. If wild parrots are to survive, people must stop buying them for pets,
" noted María Elena Sanchez Saldana of Teyeliz, A.C.
Defenders of Wildlife and Teyeliz, A.C. are
already working on a bi-national education campaign with the
U.S. and Mexico, and will continue to address the need to find
adequate funding to solve the biological, economic and social challenges of the
illegal parrot trade.
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