Big Red Caged: Forestry CEO Silent

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Updated: May 29, 2017

Last week Thursday, we reported on Big Red, the male scarlet macaw bird that was reportedly confiscated from Belize Bird Rescue and taken to Harvest Caye. Love News has received a letter sent to the CEO in the Ministry of Forestry, Dr. Percival Cho. That letter was sent by the directors of Belize Bird Rescue, who confirmed to Love News last week that Big Red was indeed taken by forest Officer Edgar Correa and Tony Garrell of Harvest Caye. In her four page letter, Buxton makes several points as to why Harvest Caye is the most inappropriate place to have Big Red caged up. Buxton focuses on Harvest Caye Conservation Foundation which was registered as a non-governmental organization in July 2016. According to documents, one of the reasons the foundation was created is to breed scarlet macaws in captivity and for educational purposes. The articles of association make no mention of toucans being kept in captivity and we understand they have eight. Buxton told the CEO that the foundation is nothing but a smokescreen. She wrote quote, “If a Macaw breed to release program were necessary, then it should be on the mainland away from Tourists or any other visitor for that matter. There is no logical or practical reason to put a facility such as this on an island cruise ship terminal.HCCF has been founded upon a need by Norwegian Cruise Lines to appear to be doing something for the environment to counter accusations of extremely environmentally damaging cruise ship tourism. The fact the Harvest Caye Conservation Foundation is a separate company is a further smokescreen.” End of quote. Buxton says that since scarlet macaws are not an endangered species there is no conservation reason at this time to have a breed to release programme on the caye. Buxton told Dr. Cho that Isabell Paquet Durand a member of the board of directors of the foundation is in direct conflict of interest since she is the co-founder of Belize Wildlife Clinic and Belize Wildlife Conservation Network. According to Buxton, Durand’s MOU with the Forest Department permits her to carry out wildlife rescue, treatment, rehabilitation and release and it is in this light that she should recuse herself with immediate effect from any and all decisions regarding the disposition of any bird or animal undergoing rehabilitation and especially those being considered for release. In sharing her professional opinion, Buxton told Dr. Cho she does not quote, “believe that Harvest Caye is a healthy or practical environment into which any mainland bird or animal species should be placed. Regardless of the fact that this healthy, releasable, wild juvenile will not be of breeding age for another 5 years and will remain a display bird for that long period, the salty, sand-blown atmosphere is extremely detrimental to the respiratory and optic health and feather condition.” End of quote. Buxton has not received a reply from the CEO. We will keep following this story.