Conservation to Be at|Heart of Wild Bird Shows

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed rules permitting possession and use of migratory birds in educational programs and exhibits. Conservation education must be prominent in the presentation, and the birds must not perform tricks or imitate human behavior.
The programs also must be open to the general public for a certain number of hours, and must not endorse a product, although the programs may occur at a commercial facility.
     Additionally, the rules would remove the permit exemption for some public institutions for possession of live migratory birds and migratory bird specimens, and clarify that birds held under the exemption must be used for conservation education.
     For specimens such as feathers, parts, carcasses, nonviable eggs, and nests, the rules would be updated and clarified to more accurately reflect the types of institutions that may hold specimens for public educational purposes.
     Only captive-bred birds or birds that cannot be released back into the wild would be allowed to be kept and used for the presentations.
     The proposed rule also would revise existing regulations authorizing public exhibition of eagles.
     The eagle rules are essentially the same as the other migratory bird rules, except for five things: The live eagles would have to be nonreleasable; Only public museums, scientific societies and zoological parks may obtain permits to exhibit eagles; the rules for international transport of eagles are different from rules for the transport of other migratory birds, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service adds a three-year maximum permit duration to the international transport rules; and there are rules for non-living eagle specimens that do not exist for other migratory birds, due to Native American use of eagle feathers and parts.
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