Police in Paraguay have arrested four smugglers and rescued 211 parrots. The young parrots had apparently been taken directly from their nests in remote forests throughout Paraguay.
Many of the rescued birds, identified as Blue-fronted Amazon parrots, were very young and unable to fly. According to Veterinarian Carlos Britos, of Paraguay's environmental ministry, the 211 parrots will remain in a national park until they are prepared return to the wild. Government biologists will be caring for the parrots and working toward their eventual release. According to Britos, they should all be fine once they are old enough to fly and care for themselves.
As reported by ABC News, Blue-fronted Amazons, or Amazona aestiva, are one of the most common parrots that are kept as pets. Although the birds are not listed as endangered, The International Union for the Conservation of Nature notes that the numbers of these of parrots being taken from the wild is steadily increasing.
The organization cites over 400,000 of the brightly colored parrots being caught in the wild and traded since 1981.
Illegally traded birds can cause problems in other areas as well. Although not indigenous to the area, Rio De Janeiro has seen an increase on wild Blue-fronted Amazons. This is thought to be due to captive birds escaping and reproducing in the area.
According to Wikipedia, The Blue-fronted Amazons are sought as companion pets due to their bold colors, ability to talk and sing, and usually docile nature.
Stealing animals is a punishable crime in Paraguay whether the animal is endangered or not. The four men who took the 211 young parrots from their nests, if convicted, are facing the possibility of spending eight years in prison for their crime.