THE NATIONAL Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) are taking steps to request the return of endemic Jamaican parrots being housed at the Schoenbrunn Zoo, Vienna, Austria.
NRCA/NEPA received information in September that endemic Jamaican parrot eggs were confiscated in Austria by customs officials. The authority and the agency took immediate steps to verify the information with the view to seek the return of the parrots.
According to a release from NEPA, the parrots are being reclaimed under Article VIII paragraph 1 and paragraph 4 (b) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is an international treaty governing the import, export, re-export and introduction from the sea of species covered by the convention.
The release said NRCA/NEPA has already communicated with officials in Vienna and will be sending official communication to the Austrian Management Authority, which makes decisions in Austria on CITES-related issues, both directly and through diplomatic channels. NRCA and NEPA are also seeking official confirmation of the species and numbers of Jamaica parrots being housed at the zoo.
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 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 on the CITES list.
Anyone found in possession of a Jamaican parrot or any parts of it can face a maximum fine of $100,000 or 12 months in prison under the Wild Life Protection Act, and can be fined up to $2 million and/or two years in prison if caught trading in or exporting these birds without a permit, under the Endangered Species Act.
Jamaica's parrots are threatened with extinction and are therefore protected. They are listed on the World Conservation Union Red List of Threatened Species.