Illegal Parrot Trade in Peru

Illegal wildlife trade is the fourth most profitable illegal industry in the world trailing behind drug, gun and human trafficking; it is second only to the trafficking of narcotics in neo-tropical countries in Latin America. One of the species most affected by this trade, is the parrot. Parrot trade has occurred for over one thousand years, and it has been one of the leading causes of many parrot species becoming close to extinction. The demand for parrots as pets comes not only from people in developed nations such as European countries and the United States, but there is also a high demand for them in countries where parrots are native. The majority of captive parrots are kept in poor conditions and typically do not receive a proper diet. Illegal parrot trade is carried out by individuals who participate in the trade in order to supplement their already low incomes; this means there are no specific illegal organizations that can be targeted in order to stop the trade, and a more dynamic approach is necessary in order to combat the issue. Evidence suggests the largest demand for parrots comes from source countries, and more exotic species of parrot are sold to wealthy people residing in developed countries; places like the United States and European countries. Illegal and unsustainable poaching combined with habitat loss have driven many parrot species to become endangered. A 2008 study reports 34 species of parrots being sold in Peruvian markets, of those one was considered to be endangered while two were on the brink of endangerment. Studies project that 80,000 to 90,000 parrots are poached annually in Peru alone. There have been many conservation efforts to reduce/eliminate illegal wildlife trafficking; however, enforcing these efforts is difficult in regions where policing assets are limited and the area to police is vast. Illegal parrot trading is directly linked to declines in parrot populations, the spread of disease and poor impressions for the tourist trade. The illegal wildlife trade in Peru is a dynamic issue that must take into account for the low-income status of traffickers involved and the overwhelming demand for these birds in both native and non-native countries. The solution to reducing, and eventually eliminating, illegal parrot trade must begin by transitioning traffickers to more sustainable income subsidy opportunities, finding a balance between Peruvian’s love for keeping wild animals as pets and the monetary gain from the trade; as well as being careful not to tread on the nations entitlement to their natural wildlife endowment, and implementing sustainable parrot breeding practices into the region.

3 thoughts on “Illegal Parrot Trade in Peru

  1. Devan Fitzpatrick

    I had no idea that this was going on! The fourth most profitable illegal industry, who knew. That’s a very sad situation and I’m happy that I now am aware of this issue thanks to you. I know how big of a national issue human trafficking is, and I also am aware that there needs to be more education around human trafficking. Your topic is a perfect example of another illegal trade that the public needs to be better educated on. It’s a shame that innocent animals have to be mistreated and brought to the brink of extinction because of our desperate want for ‘things’. I agree with your point that a big part of the problem is the law enforcement in Peru. Experts need to start thinking about ways we could aid this problem before it’s too late.

  2. Juliana Skelly

    In my post for my class about Yemen, I spoke about how animals are being treated poorly in the country, one particular point of reference being the Taiz Zoo, where animals are left starving and unprotected. It’s infuriating and tragic how animals around the world are mistreated like this. I was aware of illegal parrot trade, but unaware of how deeply it permeates the world as a problem. Another tragic aspect is that humans are doing these things on account of their own need to survive, and putting themselves first “by individuals who participate in the trade in order to supplement their already low incomes”, just as those who bomb animal farms and abandon zoos in Yemen do so out of the need to farther their own gains: eliminate and preserve resources.

  3. Maxwell Hamburg

    Who had any idea that there was such a thing as an illegal parrot trade!? It is extremely interesting how these things can go on while sliding fully under peoples radar of an actual issue. Is there the possibility that they tend to focus more on the deforestation and drug trade because they are seen as a bigger issue? The fact that it is so profitable is also crazy to think about because they are seen as just parrots to most people. What other people don’t realize is how having these parrots taken all over the world helps them become an invasive species if too many get out and have the opportunity to reproduce much like the silver carp here in America. I hope to see that you go into depth about the impact that this will have on other environments that they are not native too. It seems like a very interesting read.


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