DoE registers 60 Cayman parrots in amnesty effort

Anyone owning a Cayman parrot has until 29 Feb. 2020 to register it. - PHOTO: STUART MAILER

Sixty Cayman parrots have been signed up for registration so far under the Department of Environment’s ongoing amnesty.

The department said 54 birds on Grand Cayman and six on Cayman Brac have been signed up.

The six-month amnesty began this month and is scheduled to end in February 2020.

It is illegal to possess a Cayman parrot, but the DoE opted to give those keeping the parrots as pets an opportunity to register the birds, rather than confiscating all parrots being kept as pets.

Additionally, the department does not have the resources to deal with so many seized birds.

The DoE, in a statement to the Cayman Compass, said the amnesty efforts have been going well.

“We have already received a good response to the amnesty programme and appreciate the public’s support. We are hoping even more residents will come forward to register their Cayman parrots, as we know there are more birds being kept as pets,” the DoE said.

The department said its officers will initially begin to register the parrots they have been notified about between 3 and 9 Oct., when the DoE will have the assistance of an avian veterinarian from the US.

“There will be ongoing efforts to register the birds after that date through the end of the amnesty period,” the DoE said.

Jane Haakonsson, terrestrial research officer with the DoE, said registered birds will remain with their owners.

“We want to reassure the public that the amnesty is undertaken as a way to ensure legal ownership of these Cayman parrots. Anyone who registers their parrot during the amnesty period, which lasts through 29 Feb. 2020, will be able to legally keep their bird,” she said.

Once the amnesty period has passed, any unregistered Cayman parrots that are still being kept as pets may be seized by DoE conservation officers, and the bird owners can be fined for possessing or keeping them illegally. Those fines can range as high as $500,000 and/or four years in prison.

“During the initial contact, we will take down basic information such as location where the birds are kept, number of birds and the resident’s availability to register the bird. We can answer any further questions prior to the registration,” the DoE said.

Under the project, all captive birds will have unique identifiers and will be outfitted with one identification leg band and a free microchip implantation procedure.

The DoE said these identifiers “will enable enforcement officers to readily identify poached parrots and enforce the law”.

The department, in its release in the ongoing amnesty efforts, said registration will be carried out through house calls upon request.

“Registered parrot owners will receive a free health check for their bird, as well as educational material regarding how to care for their parrot,” it added.

The terrestrial resources unit of the DoE is seeking to register all captive Cayman parrots within a Native Bird Registration System.

The Cayman parrot is the common name for two parrot subspecies that are found only on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. The DoE said the Cayman parrots were originally listed as a game bird, but were given full protection under the Animals (Protection) Regulations, 1989.

Residents who own parrots can contact the DoE at either its main office line on 949 8469 or via email at [email protected]