Parrot amnesty yields 181 birds

At total of 181 Cayman parrots have been registered to date under the Department of Environment’s ongoing amnesty.

However, the DoE says there are more birds being kept as pets on island and they want owners to register the animals before the amnesty ends on 29 Feb.

“We are urging people to come forward. Just give us a call, contact the Department of Environment, send us an email; however you choose to do it. We will come out and register your bird, give it a health check and let you know if there’s anything additionally that you can do to keep your bird happy and healthy and give it the long life it deserves,” said Jane Haakonsson, DoE terrestrial research officer.

The six-month amnesty began on 1 Sept. So far, 170 birds have been registered on Grand Cayman and 11 on Cayman Brac.

Registration is key
As the DoE enters the homestretch of the programme, Haakonssoon said the aim is get as many birds as possible registered.

“If we have people after March 1 that come forward to us and say that they have a bird, we will probably deal with it on a case-by-case basis. In an ideal world, we would like to think we are getting most of the people now because, unfortunately, it will be illegal to keep a bird after February 29,” Haakonsson told the Cayman Compass.

She said the response to the amnesty has been “overwhelmingly good” and people are very keen to do the right thing, especially when it comes to doing a health assessment of the birds.

“You know everyone has been doing what they think is right with the birds and they want to do better and, oftentimes, we can give them really good advice as to how to care for the birds and pinpoint some issues that maybe need to be looked at. People are generally really appreciative of the care that we give,” she said.

Health checks are necessary

Each bird that is registered is given a free health assessment by the DoE team.

The terrestrial research officer said a majority of the registered birds were found to be overweight due to the food the birds are being fed, as well as because they do not expend energy to forage as they would in the wild.

She said some of the birds also have respiratory issues that have been caused by dust and, in some cases, by other pets in the home.

Haakonsson said there are no plans to extend the amnesty as the window for registration was very carefully planned according to the wild population and reproduction in the wild.

No parrots have been seized under the amnesty. “That is not what the amnesty is about, it is about giving people a chance to legally keep their birds and I think that is very important to understand. The only time we have taken a bird out of its home was to give it veterinary treatment at the clinic,” she said.

| Residents who own parrots can contact the DoE at 949-8469 or email [email protected]

About the Cayman Parrot

The Cayman parrot is the common name for two parrot subspecies that are found only on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.

Originally listed as a game bird, the Cayman parrot was given full protection under the Animals (Protection) Regulations, 1989.

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