Are the authorities really serious about controlling the wildlife trade?

Dear Editor,

The SN Dec 27th, 2018, article titled `Finches’ smuggler flies under cops’ radar’ caught my attention. On Dec 8, 2018 US Customs and Border Protection agricultural specialists busted a Guyanese man trying to smuggle 70 live finches inside hair rollers in his duffle bag into the USA at the Queens airport. The smuggler was refused entry into the USA and was deported to Guyana where his whereabouts are unknown because he gave two different addresses to local officials.  I’ve never received training in police work but I’m pretty good at catching domestic and wild animals. If I really wanted to catch the lost bird-smuggler I would request his passport information (with contact information) from US officials and go from there.

I would like to share with your readers what is happening on a regular basis in the uncontrolled bird trade, e.g. the Towa Towas.  On Dec 13th 2018, I went to a bus service to send a parcel to someone in the Rupununi.  I overheard a bus driver saying that he brought birds for a customer. I then asked what kind of birds and how many, he said 25 Towa Towas. He showed me the birds, the cage was covered and a real mess; inside 24 Towa Towas were packed like sardines for their 12-hour journey. I asked how much he got for their transport and he said $5000. Editor, that was the 4th time I personally saw large numbers of birds being sent in from the Rupununi by bus and by plane. If I really wanted to control the inhumane treatment of Guyana’s beautiful bird population, I would start by requiring special permits for their shipment by plane or ground vehicle.

As the New Year approaches please keep your pets safe from the fireworks.

I can find God in nature, in animals, in birds and the environment – Pat Buckley.

Yours faithfully,

Syeada Manbodh

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