Monday, December 14, 2009

Double Standards

I have a list of stuff to do that is so long, I’ve decided to do none of it and Blog instead.

What a flippin week – my computer HATES me. I’m still not speaking to it for what it did to me and I’ve turned its speakers off, as no apology will be good enough. Sulk? Me? Hell, yes!

The excellent news is that the leg bands have arrived for our little darlings. Chili is sporting her shiny new bracelet and after the initial indignation, has managed to leave it alone for the most part. She has also decided it helps her to fly and has been experimenting quite a lot. I haven’t had to resort to ladder-rescues yet, but it’s coming.

Speaking of rescues, we were lucky enough (or not, depending on your point of view) to tag along on a wildlife raid this week. They needed our truck to transport what they hoped would be the haul of the decade of illegally captive wildlife. Unfortunately, somebody tipped off the offenders and by the time we got where we were going there was just one anteater, a spinning flip-flop in a cloud of dust, and an empty parrot cage swinging in the breeze. Darn and blast it. We heard that literally 5 minutes before, there was pretty much one of everything you could name, plus half a dozen crocs and several parrots- including a macaw- on display for the tourists. On the bright side, the tourists were told by their tour guides not to interact with the animals, which is great news: the message is getting through.

There’s a moral dilemma for me though. Here you have a bunch of people who’s sole source of income is to show tourists their parrot and ask for money in return for photographs. Is the parrot suffering any more or less than your average ‘pet’ parrot in Belize? You could argue that at least it has the attention of it’s owner and something to occupy its mind during the day. And because it is the owner’s livelihood, it is being cared for – no-one wants a picture of a sickly-looking bird. Of course, you all know if I had my way there would be no captive parrots at all, but for as long as we allow pet birds, what is the difference between one kept for the entertainment of a household, and one destined to make money for their owner? And what do you say to someone when their animal is taken from them because they charged money to display it, and they ask you ‘then how come it’s not free to enter the zoo’?

Hmmm. I could loose sleep over this one – but I probably won’t. The truth is, the majority of these animals are youngsters, caught when they’re cute and docile, and discarded for a younger model once they reach maturity. Apparently the anteater was number 19 on the guy’s list, most likely for this very reason, and one of its forelegs had been dislocated in the past, probably when it was pulled forcibly from its mother. Generally speaking, its a filthy business and it doesn’t benefit Belize in any way. And of course, there’s the health issues: in this litigious society, Belize’s tourism industry can’t afford to be responsible for an American tourist contracting rabies, or some child’s finger being removed by an angry macaw.

I shall now go and put flight-enhancers on the rest of MY birds, from which I derive tremendous pleasure, and have started the rocky road of fund-raising to support. How does that make me different from the aforementioned profiteers? Well, I get people to give me money and then tell them they can’t look at the parrot! Good wheeze, eh?


  1. Very beautiful creatures. I love them.

  2. So nice and good posting. i liked it. keep going. :)

  3. Only for human no spam !!!

  4. Hey guys - sorry, missed those - I really should check the comments (and of course, it's so nice to get them)
    Thanks for the encouragement. My website writing prowess must really make you cringe, Nick!