Agriculture Minister, Johnson Drigo, has given the assurance that 12 rare parrots taken from the Parrot Aviary in the Botanic Gardens to Germany will eventually be returned to the island.
In an interview with Marpin Channel Five News, he said he is satisfied the birds will return when the time is right.
“We are satisfied that our birds will be back at the right time,” he stated.
Reports surfaced about a week and a half ago that the birds endemic to Dominica were taken to Germany causing a firestorm of controversy mainly due to the lack of public knowledge of the matter.
The government has since stated that they were taken to a facility in the European country to faciliate the breeding of the endangered species since its habitat was severely damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Maria last September.
The facility, ran by the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP), was described by Drigo as “recognized” by other Caribbean countries such as St. Lucia and St. Vincent for captive breeding and “it was only Dominica’s turn to look at it as an option considering the impact of Maria on our birds.”
He remarked that he hopes captive breeding of the birds will be successful.
“Hopefully they will breed in captivity and we will be successful in the captive breeding program and all of our birds will be back and they will be released into the wild,” he said.
Drigo was also quizzed on allegations that officials at the Forestry Department who were involved in parrot conservation at the aviary did not take part in the transfer process but he dismissed them as gossip.
“The Ministry of Agriculture cannot respond to gossip, so I am not going to respond to gossip but rest assured everything that had to be done, every I was dotted and every T was crossed…” he said.
He also shot down allegations that the birds were taken out of the island without proper documentation.
“This is 2018, government will not be exporting or sending birds overseas without all the proper documents in place, so these are just gossip which I won’t be able to entertain,” Drigo said.