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Monday, February 3, 2014

Illegal traffic in Nicaraguan wildlife IV

Wildlife in Nicaragua are facing two very critical issues. The first is that forests are disappearing rapidly, as the country prospers and develops more. Enforcement of the protection of natural areas is a big challenge to the government, which does not grow at the same pace as the economic forces behind deforestation and habitat destruction of all kinds.
But for many wild animals in Nicaragua, the greatest challenge to their continued existence in the wild is the pet trade. It is simply illegal to buy or sell many animals, or to exhibit them publicly, yet they are found daily in public places on display in restaurants and hotels, or along the road for sale. Again, authorities have little capacity to respond to this type of crime.
One of the most egregious groups of violators of the rights of protected wild animals is found along the Panamerican Highway at Moyua. Here are some images of animals for sale, openly on display.

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This young man is holding a Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) for sale along the Panamerican Highway at Moyua. Photo Maggie Folkesson.
All day long, people drive by these folks with animals for sale, offering Nicaragua's natural heritage on a stick as if the macaw were fast food. Although people may be offended by the spectacle of these animals for sale, few do anything, because people may not feel capable of doing anything about such crimes.
This view shows even more clearly the Scarlet Macaw for sale along the Panamerican Highway in Nicaragua. Photo Maggie Folkesson. 
Among the animals which has suffered the most from the pet trade in Nicaragua is the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao). This majestic animal once filled the skies with color and sound, flying in groups above the treeline and even in cities. Managua had Scarlet Macaws visit daily until they were all captured from their roosts in the Chiltepe Peninsula in 1983. A handful of these birds fly freely in the Cosiguina Peninsula, in the northwest corner of the country, their nests most likely protected from nest raiders by the steep slopes of the crater interior of the Volcano Cosiguina.
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There were two Scarlet Macaws on display this day at this site. Photo Maggie Folkesson.
FUNDECI/GAIA postdoctoral scientist Maggie Folkesson documented the wildlife on sale illegally in this location recently. Not only were there Scarlet Macaws, there were also several other species, most notably Yellow-naped Parrots (Amazona auropalliata), and White-faced Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus capuchinus). The woman in the photo below is holding one of each on display. 

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White-faced Capuchin Monkey and Yellow-naped Parrot for sale. Photo Maggie Folkesson.
Monkeys and macaws present many problems as pets, so it is typical that people who purchase them regret their actions later. Furthermore, their promotion of the illegal traffic in wild animals helps to empty the forests of wild animals, which is the principal reason Scarlet Macaws are no longer seen throughout most of Nicaragua.
The Yellow-naped Amazon is a common bird in the pet trade, but its status on the CITES list was recently adjusted to Appendix II, which means that it is not permitted for international commerce except within the context of an approved, successful captive breeding program, which does not exist in Nicaragua. Its range in Nicaragua is throughout the tropical dry forests of the Pacific side and some of the humid tropical forests on the Caribbean side of the country.
A new initiative is needed to stop the pet trade. What do you suggest?

pet trade
Here is a clear photo of a Yellow-naped Amazon parrot and a White-faced Capuchin Monkey for sale in Moyua. Their sale is illegal in Nicaragua. Photo Maggie Folkesson..
All of these animals are prohibited from sale in Nicaragua, although as anyone an see, the law is little respected. We share these photos in the hope that people will react. Do you want to see wild animals in the forests of Nicaragua? Then do something to stop the illegal traffic in wild animals.
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Click on the "escudo" to ontact us.

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