NAIA: Bringing People Together For the Greater Good

NAIA: Bringing People Together For the Greater Good

By: Sara Chisnell  Date: 04/27/2017 Category: | Animal Legislation |

National Animal Interest Alliance conferences are intended to not only educate, but to foster and promote relationships between individual attendees and various groups. The last conference in Florida did just that: brought together the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) and the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) who are now working together for the betterment of the golden parakeet.

AFA petitioned to have the golden conure delisted from the Endangered Species Act coverage in 2014. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) responded with a finding that delisting may be warranted, which triggered a requirement for FWS to follow up within 12 months with a decision whether or not to delist. However, 24 months have passed with no decision. PFL is now serving a 60-day notice on FWS that they will sue on behalf of AFA if they continue to ignore the requirement to act on the delisting petition.

Why Delist?

The golden parakeet, or golden conure, is a non-native species that many AFA members own and breed. Under the current regulations, because they are under ESA coverage, owners must obtain a special “take” permit to sell a bird across state lines. This restriction, intended to protect the birds, actually ends up hurting them in the long run. So much conservation is done through private breeding, and this type of restriction results in severely limited gene pools. The protection and conservation efforts have been successful: the population has gone from 1,000 birds, triggering the listing, to over 20,000 birds today.

Private breeding of golden conures greatly contributes to their recovery as a species. 

“Aviculturists serve an important role in the preservation of birds,” said AFA President Jamie Whittaker. “In some cases breeders are the key to the long term survival of species at risk for extinction in their native lands. The federal government should stop hindering their important work.”

“Regulators’ failure to act on the petition not only violates their legal duties and deadlines, it amounts to playing ostrich and ignores the encouraging, credible evidence of golden parakeet recovery,” said PLF attorney Christina Martin. “Even worse, the failure to free this bird from regulatory captivity is actually harmful to the species’ continued improvement.  According to scholarship, one of the reasons why the golden parakeet is doing better is because private breeders are successfully breeding enough of the birds so that trapping is not a significant problem anymore. In other words, regulators are punishing the very people who are assisting in the preservation of the golden conure.”

One of the many goals of NAIA is to serve as an umbrella organization that brings the various animal interest groups together to interact and support each other in a united front that better serves all of our best interests. We are thrilled that these two groups met and began talking about this issue at the 2016 NAIA conferences so they could join forces to help save the golden parakeet!

For more information on the wonderful world of aviculture, please browse through the abundance of information on our sister site, Discover Animals!

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