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The Tranquilo Traveler

The Tranquilo Traveler is a celebration of voluntourism, slow travel, and other interesting ways to see the world. Travel writer and award- winning Moon Handbooks author Joshua Berman created The Tranquilo Travel as a resource for world trippers and international volunteers, a window to the author’s travels in Nicaragua, Belize, and beyond, and an update of his books and articles.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Impact on Endangered Wildlife while Traveling in Belize and Other Countries

Username By Joshua | December 14th, 2009 | Comments 3 Comments »

Parrot poaching is a big deal. Especially for the Yellow-headed Amazon parrot (Amazona oratrix), a gorgeous species under serious threat of extinction in the world. Its numbers plummeted from 70,000 to 7,000 in the last two decades. Human encroachment on natural habitat fuels nest-robbing for the illegal pet trade. Belize Bird Rescue, a non-profit organization operating on a private reserve in western Belize, reports that 65% of all wild-caught captive birds die before they reach sale. Of those that make it, most are sold to people who have no idea how to raise a baby parrot, so the majority die in their first year, or grow up with leg, foot, or wing deformities due to malnutrition.

In Belize, some poached birds are sold on the international market, while others end up in homes or in businesses who want to add “color” to attract tourists. That’s where you and I come in.

It’s easy to make mistakes if you don’t know the guidelines (I speak from experience), so I asked Jerry Larder, Director of Belize Bird Rescue, what travelers can do to discourage the illegal trade in parrots and other animals.

Here are his recommended DOs and DON’Ts while traveling:

*Never buy goods made from animal hides, skins, teeth or claws or exoskeletons such as bugs and corals. Some leather goods are okay but exotic ones normally are not.

*Do not have your photograph taken with captive indigenous wildlife. By encouraging the keepers of the wildlife, more will be taken from the wild.

*Do not patronize establishments with captive wildlife on display unless they are government sanctioned as a breeding or educational facility such as a zoo. There is no educational value of a single monkey or bird in a restaurant.

*Do not believe anyone that tells you that he ‘rescued’ an orphan animal or bird, unless they are licensed rescue facility. The vast majority of these animals were captured from the wild and / or bought from dealers. If people really want to rescue a bird or animal, they will turn them over to a proper rescue/rehab facility.

*Anyone who buys a wild-caught parrot is condemning many more to death as the trade encourages more trade.

_________________________

FOR FURTHER READING:

BELIZE BIRD RESCUE

Belize Audubon Society (BAS)

“Wildlife Trafficking: A reporter follows the lucrative, illicit and heartrending trade in stolen wild animals deep into Ecuador’s rain forest” —Smithsonian magazine, December 2009

The World Parrot Trust

This blog entry was written while listening to BIRDSONG RADIO

(Photos courtesy of Belize Bird Rescue.)

Category: Travel, Belize
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3 Responses to “5 Ways to Reduce Your Impact on Endangered Wildlife while Traveling in Belize and Other Countries”

Kristy Redmon | December 25th, 2009 at 7:18 pm | comment link
top comment

Great article! I would love to have a list of accommodations that currently have animals in captivity. While I’ve seen many hotels and lodges, I’ve not seen every one. Many thanks and Merry Christmas.

flip | December 31st, 2009 at 4:51 am | comment link
top comment

thanks for sharing, i never thought that having my picture taken with the animals would hurt them but i realized that you’ve made a valid point.

there’s a lot of those tourist traps in asia

btw, happy new year

-flip

patricia | January 22nd, 2011 at 2:47 pm | comment link
top comment

that’s it, excellent article! at least if we inform people…it’s a first step! africa and brazil have the saaaame problem…

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