The alleged smuggling of rare parrots out of Dominica has created controversy on the island and has taken social media by storm.
Not even a statement by the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP) which is based in Germany, describing the alleged smuggling as “fake news” has served to quell the ongoing dispute.
Reports appeared over the weekend which said that 12 parrots were taken from Parrot Aviary in the Botanical Gardens and taken to Germany.
The ACTP confirmed on its Facebook page that there was a “transfer” of the birds from Dominica to Germany but insisted that it had the “cooperation with all governments involved.” It did not say how many of the parrots were taken.
A Facebook post by a conservationist who has worked with parrots and other endangered species on the island also confirmed that the birds were taken.
“Reporting to work after reading a news article, with hope that what you read was untrue. Well the news article was indeed true in some aspect; that the birds are gone!!,” he wrote. “I’m thankful I was able to help in restoring these birds health. In the conservation field, at times you feel DEFEATED but you shouldn’t give up. One lonely bird left behind and we decided to call it “LEFTY”.”
What remains unclear at this point is how involved is the government in the matter and at what level since there have been no official statements.
The Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrot said on Facebook that the government will publish a “detailed press release soon.”
“Unfortunately there are some fake news showing up about ACTP and Dominica,” the association said. “For now we can say that there is a new breeding program for the imperial and red-necked Amazon, like we have for the St. Vincent and St. Lucia Parrot already. And yes, there was a transfer of birds from Dominica to Germany. Of course was the transfer in cooperation with all governments involved and all birds have legal documents.”
But the questioning has not stopped with many people wondering on social media that if the move was a legitimate one, why is it being kept “hush hush.”
ACTP was asked on Facebook why were the birds taken to Germany in the first place and why not have a “solid breeding program” in Dominica.
“We have all the logistics here in Germany, like 24/7 vet, artificial insemination, aviaries and staff,” the ACPT replied. “So we are able to spend more money now in education, training of staff and capacity building on the ground. A wildlife conservation & education center on the ground is in process too! But pls (sic) wait for the press release by the government of Dominica first, then we will release more.”
But the matter appears that it won’t go away soon. A social awareness media campaign has been started on social media with the hashtag #BringBackOurParrots and many people have taken to the airwaves demanding clarification on the matter.