Curtailing Mexico’s Exotic Bird Trade

The long-awaited amendment to Mexico’s wildlife law to protect its wild bird populations from exploitation was approved by Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa on October 13. 

The ban prohibits the commercial or subsistence capture, export and import of 22 Mexican parrot species, half of which are deemed endangered. A joint report highlighting the need for the ban was released last year by the Mexican nonprofit conservation organization, Teyeliz, AC, and the Defenders of Wildlife Mexico. It found that 65,000 to 78,500 wild parrots and macaws are captured in Mexico each year, with an astounding 75 percent dying before reaching a buyer. 

Though most surviving parrots are sold at stores and markets throughout Mexico, the report also identified American demand for some species as encouraging the illegal trade. The importation of wild-caught birds has been severely restricted in the US since 1992, yet Mexican parrots are still smuggled into the country. The Mexican ban on imports was a necessary measure, since species shared with Central and South America were being imported and used as a cover for the illegal trade.

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