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Interior Sued on Hyacinth Macaw, Cockatoos, Parrots

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Secretary of the Interior encourages wildlife poaching, nest robbing and smuggling by refusing to list 13 species of parrots, macaws and cockatoos as endangered, the Friends of Animals claim in Federal Court. Among the species the government refuses to protect is the hyacinth macaw, the largest parrot in the world, which sells for $7,000 or more apiece.

The plaintiffs want these species protected: the blue-throated macaw, blue-headed macaw, hyacinth macaw, military macaw, great green macaw, and scarlet macaw; the crimson shining parakeet; the Philippine cockatoo, white cockatoo, and yellow-crested cockatoo; the red-crowned parrot, thick-billed parrot, and yellow-billed parrot.

Wildlife experts estimate that as many as nine parrots die for every one that survives being smuggled into the United States. Wildlife smugglers also destroy habitat by chopping down trees to rob nests. Amazon parrots that sell for $750 to $1,000 or more in the United States may be bought for as little as $2.50 in South America.

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