DoE to address pet parrot problem

| 29/08/2019 | 32 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): The Department of Environment (DoE) is giving people who are keeping Cayman’s national bird as a pet the chance to regularise that ownership before they begin a clampdown on the poaching of local parrots. A six-month amnesty will start next month, during which people who have pet parrots can register them. But after that, anyone found with an unregistered bird will not only face losing their pet but also a possible fine.

“We’re trying to correct a problem with illegal parrot ownership that has been allowed to persist for going on 20 years,” said DoE Terrestrial Resources Unit Manager Fred Burton. “These Cayman parrots are a protected species under the National Conservation Law, as they were under the Animals Law, and really shouldn’t be kept as house pets. However, we know hundreds of people do keep them and, if they are being responsible, we want to give them a chance to continue to keep their birds.”

Burton said that the department does not know how many parrots may be being kept as pets, but the aim of the amnesty and registration in the long-term is to prevent further poaching and eliminate the illegal trade in wild Cayman parrots, which puts the population at greater risk each year.

DoE Research Officer Jane Haakonsson said that the birds are under increasing strain.

“When the restrictions on keeping these birds are enforced, it will hopefully reduce or stop the poaching of wild Cayman parrots. The local parrot population on both Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac remains critically low in the wake of Hurricanes Ivan in 2004 and Paloma in 2008,” she said. “The parrots’ ability to recover from those storms and human induced threats is also compromised through ongoing habitat loss.”

During the parrot amnesty period, residents should contact the DoE and a team will attend their location to register the parrot. The registration process will involve assigning each pet parrot an identification number imprinted on a small band around the parrot’s leg and implanting an identification chip, called a PIT tag, similar to the ID tags used to register other pets, such as dogs and cats.

During the visit DoE officers will provide a health check of the bird, as well as advice on how best to care for Cayman parrots. This service is free of charge. Officially registered Cayman parrots will then be allowed to be kept as pets.

But after February 2020, no more parrots will be registered and anyone keeping an unregistered parrot will be doing so illegally. This amnesty process is one that has been implemented by several Caribbean islands and regarded by officials as necessary to curb the threat from poaching to its long-term survival.

“The Cayman parrot is our national bird and an important part of our natural history. We must continue to take steps to ensure the protection of our parrots, so that they can flourish in our islands now and into the future,” Environment Minister Dwayne Seymour said in a press release, despite his ongoing desire to gut the National Conservation Law, which protects this bird. “I urge everyone who owns a Cayman parrot to contact DoE during the amnesty period in order to register their pet parrot.”

The amnesty will run from 1 September to 29 February next year.

To register a bird with the Department of Environment (DoE) call 949-8469 or email

For more information check the DoE webpage, Protect Our Parrots

Or contact DoE Public Education and Outreach Officer Brent Fuller at 244-5984/922-5514 or via email at

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (32)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Glad to see all the animal activist here, hope everyone is also vegan that comments with arrogance.

    • Anonymous says:

      People can eat meat and still care about animals welfare. I know it may be hard for such an activist as yourself to understand.

    • Anonymous says:

      You don’t have to be a Vegan to be an animal activist. I am very much omnivorous but also care for an respect wildlife. The only arrogant comment is your’s bobo!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Guess I have to catch me some Ching Chings instead then.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mangoes count more than parrots around here.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Will book nook oblige? Poor polly

  5. Anon says:

    I have not heard of Dwayne Sinister before, this has worrisome implications.

    CNS: Oops! Thanks!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Any chance of a captive breeding program?

  7. George Towner says:

    I don’t care what anyone says –

    • Anonymous says:

      What an uneducated comment. Clearly you do not understand the way of life of many owners who keep these birds as pets. First you should tell CPA to stop granting building permits to everyone who comes to our shores. Construction of these large developments destroys the habitats and food supplies of these birds. What do you think we will have to resort to after we are a concrete jungle? Caging and breeding these animals are the only way of survival of our national treasure. Sad this move is only for one special interest group. Clearly there has been no dialogue with the farmers or with existing owners as to the best way forward of saving these species. Guess a few years from now you will learn that there’s a breeding program with the Botanic Park and with the Turtle Farm which both will get special grants from government to be sustainable. Have you ever trying growing a couple of fruit trees to sustain your family and to avoid the imported fruits that are full of pesticides? Probably not! These birds can be very destructive and if you have to make a living from farming you would get nothing. I am surprised that the Agriculture Society isn’t pushing back on this policy??? I have always owned a parrot and I felt privileged to own one as it was my way of contributing to the survival of these birds. Soon there will be nothing that a Caymanian can own that is truly Caymanian. I’ve seen over the years our way of life diminished for the benefit of a selected few. I can’t even go out to the North Sound and dive up a couple of conchs to feed my family. Why is this? I will tell you why, GREED! Many dive and charter boats with their hundreds of passengers everyday dive up the conchs, feed their passengers and get paid whilst the little fisherman or weekend family man is prosecuted for feeding his family. Sad days are ahead and I can only hope the best for these islands. The best days are gone!

      • Anonymous says:

        Keeping an animal in a cage that was born to fly IS cruel. People who have these birds as pets aren’t interested in breeding them nor are the birds kept in the right environment for successful breeding attempts. These birds are very picky abut there nesting sights and a metal cage is definitely not on their list of ideal honeymoon spots. They are kept as a novelty because they are “pretty” not because your average Caymanian wants to help their species repopulate. As for the impact on fruit trees. Are you serious? The affect they have on produce is minimal and frankly the birds were here first so I’m afraid farmers will just have to deal with it. Farmers remove their natural fruit trees to make way for their commercial ones so how can you blame the birds when they take advantage of what they can get!? On another note- why should Caymanian’s have to “own” these species to feel special. Be content with them being free in their natural habitat and able to fly and forage around the island as they are meant to. As for the whole Conch problem. There are other ways to feed your family, poaching is never an excuse. There is an open season for conch and lobster to keep the population from going extinct. See the bigger picture and dont be so narrow minded. The impact of the toursits boats is minimal and the ones that take conch out of season to supply their toursits are owned by Caymanians (I’ve seen it in person). The real pressure of poaching is done by Caymanian’s. The truth hurts bobo. None of your arguments make any sense. My 10 cents worth. P.S I am Caymanian so dont give me any stupid comments like “go back to your own country.”

        • Birds Should Fly Free says:

          I wish I could like this comment more than once.

        • Anonymous says:

          Agreed. Caymanians are solely to blame for the destruction of Cayman and its wild environment. From selling ancestral land for profit, property development, poaching and land clearance.

        • Anonymous says:

          So why have the blue iguanas in cages at the botanic park and turtles at turtle farm if it doesn’t mean their only hope for survival?

          • Anonymous says:

            Because blue iguanas cant fly and are easy targets for feral cats and dogs thus the fences and cages provide protection. As for the turtle farm their main focus isnt conservation. No matter how many times they change their name they are still a “farm” focused on breeding the turtles for consumption.

      • Rose says:

        Well said!

      • Anonymous says:

        Bunch of idiots. This was in the seventies when we had parrots by the millions. Actually we had a lot of things back then!!

      • George Towner says:

        Just grow more fruit trees man !
        The problem is with us humans! And I’m not ignorant! I know full well what its like to cage a parrot!
        I had three caged parrots for pets in my lifetime, and I can tell you, when the wild parrots came by, they made “cries” to them. I think you are the one ignorant! These creatures are very sensitive and expresd their emotions.


    • Kirkwood says:

      Taking a bird from the wild is cruel not caging birds. If cages are usrd appropriately…there is nothing wrong with putting a bird in a cage. Captive bred birds look at cages as their safe place. I keep my birds cage door ooen so he can come in and out freely. He goes outside and gets fresh air and sunlight daily. He get several hours of quality time and exercise with me and my family daily. If people do their research and have the circumstances to properly take care of a bird, they can make a wonderful pet. The problem is most people do not do the research into these unique complcated creatures. Anyone is allowed to have a bird and they are often times neglected. They need to be included in our daily activities and hours of interaction pellet based diet, vegetables and a little fruit. I agree most people dont have the time for all of this and should not keep a bird as a pet but some do and make great responsible owners.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Growing up everybody had a parrot in a cage.

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