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A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro

Posted By: Marty

A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/01/14 07:14 AM

Tonight, the Forestry Department is in possession of 2 exotic birds who which have been on San Pedro for several years. They were confiscated from their former owners, the Halliday Family, the Forest Officer discovered that the family didn't have the proper documents to keep them as pets.

Forestry says, these parrots are not native to Belize, and so it is illegal for the family to keep them. So, when the Forestry Department went on the island for an education session, they happened on the Halliday pet birds.

What unfolded was a confrontation between the family, the police, and the Forestry Officer. With the help of amateur footage captured by one of the family members, Daniel Ortiz put together this story:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
This white bird in the top cage is Gabby a cuckatoo, the other is Captain Morgan, a macaw, known as Keppi. They used to be owned by the Halliday Family on San Pedro.??They look to be well cared for, even though they aren't in their usual cages.

They weren't so calm yesterday however, when the Forestry Department removed them from their homes, confiscating the exotic birds from the Hallidays who were reportedly breaking the law by keeping them as pets.

Notice that she managed to remove the bird from its cage while remaining on her phone the entire time. That's after this scene unfolded, a confrontation between police and Brian Halliday, son of Edward Halliday, who owned the birds.

He claims he was protecting his father's property. This happened because Forestry officer, Victoria Cawich exercised her authority and took custody of the birds. Police were there as her support.??The family wasn't expecting the state to start enforcement so quickly. Cawich and her colleague had promised to all viewers on the Good Morning San Pedro TV Show.

Victoria Cawich - Forestry Officer, Forestry Department
"The Forest Department is here along with Belize Bird Rescue to - it's not to start but to continue the licensing process of parrots because we know some people here in the island own parrots and one; it is illegal to have them, but because we recognize that a lot of people have these parrots we are here to issue them. 1) You have to apply for it and then we do an inspection and then if you pass the inspection you get your permit to keep your parrot. The parrot will also be banned so everybody would know that you have a legal bird. With that, we have been on the island in many occasions to see people who already have parrots and most of the times people feel we are here to remove the parrots, but we are not here to remove anyone's parrot unless they are not in healthy conditions of if they are in a dire state."

The Halliday family says that she wasn't so understanding or reasonable when she encountered them, and none of the unhealthy conditions existed for her to justify removing them for their own safety.

Edward "Eddie" Halliday - Bird Owner
"Their orders were that we are here to confiscate the birds, we are not here to talk to anybody, we are not here to ask any questions, we are here to confiscate the birds which they did and they took the birds away."

Edward Halliday is a bird lover, who says that he's had these birds for a long time, and that he's well-known on the island for it

Edward "Eddie" Halliday - Bird Owner
"Keppi which is the macaw, it's not a scarlet macaw, its miligold macaw, it was cross bred in captivity to where it is. Keppi has been with me over 20 years. Keppi was being handled by a German guy called Herman the German, who got Keppi from two people that were called the "Pirates" that had Captain Locust Bar which is today Big Daddy's. Herman the German says Eddie, you take that bird. He doesn't act like that with me, he obviously loves you, and so you keep that bird. Gabby was left with me by the owner which is Robert Vogues. I have been in touch with Robert. Robert has sent me documentation, we've gone to Forestry and they want more documentation, but according to the lazy, if we could provide the documentation for Gabby she will give them back."

Daniel Ortiz
"Do you believe in any way that you are breaking any laws by having them as your pets?"

Edward "Eddie" Halliday - Bird Owner
"I don't believe so. Like I mentioned before have had Keppi over 20 years. I ask the Forestry lady, I said ma'am, fine, you came, you were on a morning show on the Reef TV and you said that you were not here to take away people's bird, but to educate people and to show people how they should handle their birds and then we are here to register those birds. We will have a meeting tonight at the Lion's Den, we want everybody to come in and register their birds and if you don't do it you have until December to do it. But in fact that was a lie."

Supt. Luis Castellanos - OC, San Pedro Police
"I believe that the young lady Ms. Victoria Cawich and the police that went with her, they actually spoke for almost an hour to an hour and a half trying to convince them that the birds cannot be held and so I believe that the young lady used all her discretion to try to explain to them that they cannot hold the birds."

But why would both sides go through all of this over - of all things - birds?

Brian Halliday - Son of Eddie Halliday
"When I came here I ask them to please leave my property because at the end of the day I know that there were other procedures that should have been taken place than where they were at the position at the time. When they left the premises I went ahead and I grab the lock, lock the gate and then two police officers came. They know me good and they started to talk to me, they said Brian, just let it be, let them take the birds - they said that will take it to the police station and they will have it there for the time being and if you guys work it out you can have it back. When things started to get out of hand that I wasn't allowing them to come into the property, it seems to me that Mr. Castellanos authorized two more police officers to come over. Those two were neighbors, they see me every day - I give them my respect. They came to the property with intentions to arrest me, no questions ask."

Supt. Luis Castellanos - OC, San Pedro Police
"Whilst they were checking the area, they came across two birds that I mention and as such they ask for police assistance. The thing turned out to be kind of hectic when they tried to confiscate the parrots. I sent police officers and then the son of Mr. Halliday obstructed the police and the forestry officer and as such we had to detain them."

"I was out there personally and I saw that they used the necessary force to detain him. He was behaving disorderly, he was resisting arrest and as such the police had to use or man-handle him to have him escorted to the station. I did not see that they abused their authority. However though there is a process in the police department where if you believe that they used excessive force we have an internal division where it can be investigated and then from there we could move on from there."

To the outside observer, it may seem trivial, but to the Hallidays, those birds were part of their family, something which the Forestry Department Rep. wasn't fully appreciating.

Edward "Eddie" Halliday - Bird Owner
"I told her at the station last night, if you were nice about this and you didn't bring the police to harass my family to arrest my son, to put my son in a choke-hold, my son is all bruise up from the roughing up - for birds. Is that necessary? We have people killing in San Pedro and Belize. We have drugs rampant on the island and they are not doing anything about that. But they came to a law abiding house with law abiding citizens - we don't have a police record, we've never been to court and the way they harass us yesterday was like we are old time criminals."

Supt. Luis Castellanos - OC, San Pedro Police
"I understand they have the birds for quite some years now, the gentleman mentioned 32 years, maybe more, maybe less, I don't know, but I know that he is 32 years and to get losing the birds it would have created problems and he didn't want to lose the birds, but however the birds cannot be kept unless they have an import or an export license to show that they were imported legally into the country."

This evening, we got an opportunity to speak with Cawich, who explained to us that yes indeed, they had not intention of confiscating any parrots, which are native to Belize. She told us that all the parrots which make their homes in country have remained with their owners who have them illegally in captivity. Those residents on San Pedro who have any such birds will be allowed to register and comply with the law, and keep their pets.

She added that in the case of the Cockatoo and the Macaw, they aren't native birds and so, it is illegal to own them because they were likely smuggled into the country. Because the Halliday family can't show proper documents from the authorities in the Countries which these birds are from, the Forestry Department is forced to keep them confiscated. Cawich adds that if the Halliday family can show that these birds weren't smuggled into the country, then, they will be given back.

Channel 7

Posted By: govikes

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/01/14 09:55 AM

This is a perfect example of sheer ignorance on the part of BZ authorities. Many people on the island know Gabby, Robert brought her to the island as a young bird, and NO ONE takes better care of their pets than Eddie does. The stress being inflicted on the birds by their removal could quite likely be enough to kill them in itself. Do you think the authorities actually know how to properly take care of them? Where are they living now? What kind of care are they getting? It sounds a lot more like a vendetta than anything else. And yes, I realize some are going to say I am making judgments when I don't know the whole story, but there was a much better way for authorities to handle this than to confiscate them.
Posted By: Diane Campbell

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/01/14 11:11 AM

After 20 years the birds are attached to their families - to remove them this way is cruel and harsh to the birds.
I agree that they should ideally be left in the wild and not kept as "pets" at all - but a bird who has been living with humans its whole life just can't fly away and have that natural life ....... it's too late for that and they are smart, with deep emotional bonds.
I honestly don't think this helped anybody, certainly not the birds.
Posted By: bobcat bill

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/01/14 11:40 AM

Hold a protest rally just like in the 1960's
Posted By: Diane Campbell

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/01/14 11:42 AM

Like Kent State? No thanks.
Posted By: bobcat bill

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/01/14 11:44 AM

or Chicago???
Posted By: klcman

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/01/14 06:36 PM

for what it is worth, neither of those events were in the 60's.
Posted By: Rigrat

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/01/14 08:43 PM

Just to let people know that the birds are both fine and calm and we are hoping that the leg and the foot of the Macaw will hopefully be saved. The home made band that had cut into the leg has been removed at AMC and we will see if the wound on the leg and the horribly swollen foot will subside over the next few weeks. The Molluscan Cockatoo has a heavily plucked chest, no feathers at all on the legs, and the underside of one wing is bloody and featherless from the feather plucking. This bird was known to be in excellent condition a few years ago but being confined in an undersized filthy cage had caused the bird to develop severe mental problems that we hope to curtail with better living conditions and socialisation.
Both birds were kept in extremely substandard conditions in cages that had not been cleaned for a long while and were heavily encrusted with faeces. Also it is evident that both birds had not had a shower for a very long time and were very dirty. They also did not have food or water available in their cages when seized by the Forestry department.
However the real reason for the seizure is that both of these birds do not have any paperwork whatsoever to allow them to be in Belize. Mollucan Cockatoos are critically endangered and cannot be imported to Belize without CITES paperwork. The Macaw is a crossbreed of a Military Macaw and a blue and gold. If this bird flew away (it is fully flighted)and encountered some of the last remaining Scarlet Macaws in Belize, it could be disastrous for their survival. This bird would never be allowed into Belize because of this, so had to have been smuggled in from somewhere like Mexico.
If the Hallidays can come up with the Cites Paperwork for the birds, then the birds will go back as long as the Hallidays improve the conditions under which they were living.
Posted By: Welland

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/01/14 09:20 PM

Sounds like it was in the best interest of the birds to be removed.
Posted By: Diane Campbell

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/02/14 03:31 PM

Originally Posted by klcman
for what it is worth, neither of those events were in the 60's.

Everybody knows the 60's actually happened in the 70's ---- that's part of the charm of time travel.
Posted By: klcman

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/02/14 03:41 PM

grin tru dat
Posted By: Poppie

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/02/14 06:54 PM

I don't get it.. A family has birds that are well taken care of and they come unannounced ., no previous warning,and just take them.
While other folks have birds - NOT taken care -of with cages in full sun , no food at times , they pull on feathers and had sores they were at the Old BYC entry .
Then moved to the back of LA VOLLIE ROUGE sitting in hot sun till one guys comes to clean garden and cage. They only are fed seeds...
Yet they go take those birds..more private homes in the area as well have birds
Just warn folks first, repeat a surprise visit , if they don't comply then TAKE THE BIRDS.
But don't just go and enforce a law on one family without warnings .......
Get RESPECTED in the area you work in........
Posted By: Maya House

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/03/14 04:48 AM

I don't know, but it clearly sounds like these two birds needed to be 'rescued'. I personally believe that no birds should be kept as 'pets'. But that is absolutely not the way I have always felt. It took time and a lot of education for me to get to this point. And seeing all of the issues these two particular birds had, I can't imagine that they could have survived and reached their full potential without this rescue.
Posted By: Rigrat

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/03/14 04:58 AM

Poppie.

The birds were kept in appalling conditions. They both showed signs of mental disturbance. They hadn't been taken out from their cages for months. They had no food or water in their cages. Both birds are injured, one due to a leg band that has almost caused the Macaw to lose a leg, the Cockatoo has plucked most of the feathers off her chest, legs and under the wing.
But the most serious thing of all is these birds do not have CITES paperwork. There are no import permits for these birds. The Moluccan cockatoo is an incredibly endangered species. The Macaw is a hybrid that should never ever have been allowed into Belize under any circumstances.
We know there are a lot of parrots in San Pedro, and slowly but surely they will be either licensed or removed form their captors. These cases are not nearly as serious as these two birds which are blatant examples of Belizean laws being flouted on many levels.

1. No import permits
2. No health checks
3. Birds have no records of being seen by a veterinarian although both had severe injuries.
4. Birds kept in a disgusting insanitary condition
5. Birds cages not coming close to meeting minimum standards as laid down by Forestry department.
6. No food or water being available at all times to meet minimum standards as required by Forestry department
7. Birds displaying severe signs of mental illness caused by insufficient mental stimulation and improper caging, and caging being placed at ground level.

These are facts. They can be backed up with photographs and veterinarian reports. Such lawbreaking and animal abuse cannot be tolerated any more and I am gratified that the Police and the Forestry department are now doing something about it.
Posted By: lovetotravel

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/03/14 07:06 AM

All birds should be left in the wild. They are likely to outlive most humans who do not know how to care for them in the first place. Birds are meant to fly free.
Posted By: elbert

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/03/14 01:20 PM

Yes, Sorry for all my friends who have birds but it's true we should have no caged/pet birds.
Lots of logic's/excuses about 'too late for this and that but if we have zero tolerance it will kill the illegal bird market quick and problem solved.
Posted By: Chris

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/03/14 01:50 PM

Is the fact that we're going after parrot pet keeping a sign that all of our island's other problems are now considered solved? Great! Time to take the burglar bars off and sell the guard dogs.
Posted By: JZB

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/03/14 02:27 PM

One kind of law enforcement has nothing to do with another and I'm getting really tired of people comparing the two. Do you all really expect the Forest Department to go after the drug dealers? And based on that logic, why waste your time with drug dealers when there are murders out there? Lets just let everyone speed down the road at 100 miles an hour because there are far more serious crimes out there to enforce!

I'm not directing this solely at you Chris, but you all need to stop and think about what you are actually saying.
Posted By: Diane Campbell

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/03/14 02:38 PM

Well said JZB. Thanks.
Posted By: lovey and thurston

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/03/14 03:43 PM

Perhaps the incident also had the effect of inflaming all the frustration people have been feeling over many issues. If many of the Facebook posts are any indication it will probably do little for local , expat relationships. Resentments aren't alway logical.
Posted By: Maya House

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/03/14 04:23 PM

Originally Posted by Diane Campbell
Well said JZB. Thanks.


Agreed.
Posted By: Chris

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/03/14 05:18 PM

I know they sometimes capture murderers red-handed. But, they're finally going after drug dealers and speeding vehicles on Ambergris Caye too? That's great news. I'll keep an eye on the papers for news of successful prosecutions.

On a serious note, the main (and my) concern has been about the way this was handled. There is no way the Halliday family should have been subjected to forced entry and bruising physical treatment over this matter.

Joanne, right or wrong, I ALWAYS think about what I post.

Posted By: Rigrat

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/04/14 03:37 AM

It maybe also said that if the Hallidays had assisted rather than resisted the Police and the Forestry department going about their lawful duties, that perhaps the Halliday family wouldn't have got bruised and physically manhandled. Don't forget that it was the Halliday son that first assaulted a Police office causing all the ruckus.
Posted By: Chris

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/04/14 03:59 AM

" Don't forget that it was the Halliday son that first assaulted a Police office causing all the ruckus." I was looking for any suggestion that there was assault on the police and couldn't find any. Resistance to forced entry into a private home, yes, but assault, no.

When it comes to real wildlife conservation, Belize is completely faux. You can't have a long time imported (NOT stolen from Belize forests) parrot as a pet but you (well, government) CAN sell acres and acres and acres of mangrove and wildlife (and crocodile) habitat to speculators. Grand Belize Estates or Sugar Caye anyone? I wonder where Rigrat was on those?

Excuse me while I barf at the outrageous hypocrisy of some on this board.
Posted By: Rigrat

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/04/14 04:15 AM

Chris

There was definitely obstruction and assault. The manager of Belize Bird Rescue was there and witnessed it. Extra Police had to be called because of this.
Posted By: Rigrat

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/04/14 04:42 AM

It is disingenuous to suggest that because the Belize government may have been part of some dodgy land deals and so they should not actively go about removing birds from disgusting conditions from people who are flouting and breaking the law.

I am not part of any government in Belize and nor is Belize Bird Rescue. Belize Bird Rescue is a privately funded Avian rehabilitation Centre and we have nothing whatsoever to do with enforcing any laws.
We started purely as a medical and information resource for Belize, and have become the place where confiscated birds are taken by the government so their health and living conditions can be improved, and many birds rehabilitated and released back to the wild.
You probably don't care, but before we were here, wildlife confiscations of birds ended with the birds being euthanised. The last thing that Belize Bird Rescue needs is to be asked to care for non-indigenous birds that can never be released.
Belize Bird Rescue does not own a single bird. Not one. All birds brought to us by the public or by the government are banded with a government of Belize leg band and remain the property of the government of Belize. We also do not make government policy, nor do we instigate raids, or confiscations. We do however fund anti-poaching patrols and camps in the Chiqibul to prevent the extirpation of the last remaining Scarlet Macaws.

I am going to stick my head above the parapet and say right now that since Victoria Cawich (Chi) was appointed wildlife office for Belize, she has worked tirelessly for the betterment of all wildlife in Belize. There has been a step change in the way the whole department operates.
It started with the appointment of Lisel Almilla as minister and she made sweeping changes that has energised the Forestry department. We now have Victoria in charge of wildlife, who gets up every day and actually does something when she goes to work. Not just something, a lot of things that are improving wildlife conservation for all Belizeans and future generations. I will speak up for her gladly, loudly and constantly.
I have refrained from posting pictures and film about this ugly event out of respect and privacy for private citizens. However should negative publicity about this sad episode continue I feel that I will have to counter this by publishing photos of the appalling condition that these birds were in, as well as the disgusting conditions in which they were kept.
Posted By: TravelinMan1

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/04/14 11:39 AM

Not sure I understand why there is a disagreement here. The Forestry department seems to be doing their job and enforcing the laws of Belize. Chris your references to other arms of the government and their lack luster performances are the very reasons you should be applauding Forestry.

You have passion and fire from family members who have had the Macaw for many years and on the other side the same passion for preserving and ensuring that the laws are observed. What is wrong with that? Do you really expect every government department in Belize to perform poorly because you don't like what the Lands department or police department has been doing?

I was not at the incident but I do feel very badly for all those involved. They were put in a very difficult situation and made decisions based on what they saw. They did not cave in when the Area Rep came or when the Mayor came they stood up for what they believed was right both in their eyes and in the eyes of the law.
Posted By: Chris

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/04/14 01:22 PM

I agree.
Posted By: Rigrat

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/04/14 04:51 PM

Well the disinformation campaign is continuing and there is now pressure at ministerial level to return the birds to the hellhole they were found in. Not from Eddie but his son. It is disappointing that Belizean law cannot be enforced if the lawbreakers have connections and this seems to be a blatant example. [Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
There was no food or water in these cages. From the food residue it seems these birds were only fed sunflower seeds.
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Pressure sores from too tight leg band
[Linked Image]
I have posted some pictures, there are many more. If people still think that these were well cared for birds, then please let me know and I will send some pictures of birds that are well cared for. Yes, that is bird poop on their feet. The cages were covered in it. Look at the pressure sore under where the band was placed and left to curtail circulation as the bird outgrew the band. Look at the position and condition of the cages. Then tell me that Forestry was wrong to remove these birds.
Posted By: Chris

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/04/14 05:42 PM

Rigrat, you're my hero for posting these photos. I'm sure you were going to do it anyway, nothing posted here since you made your vile threat should have set you off on this course. But, now that I see the photos I think there should have been even more police and violence.

In case you're not familiar with dripping sarcasm, this matter was handled at a level of stress and angst and physicality out of all proportion to the problem.




Posted By: Phil

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/04/14 11:10 PM

Lately this hasn't happened much.............but. I agree with Chris.

The Birds removal was handled very poorly. There is, from the chats I've had around town, a feel of victimisation from locals who feel it was a sting. People think they were lured to a meeting to explain how owners could apply for licencing and then confiscation started from that list. Might be completely incorrect but that's the feeling I've heard multiple times and respect for the Dept is probably irreprable.

The parrot (Keppi in particular) was rightly or very likely wrongly owned, poorly or well kept - Eddie has often got green Guava from my yard for Keppi - but it has been in his house for 20 years? That's like a child into adulthood being taken time wise. How old is Brian? Does he even remember not having Keppi. I'd have got riled if someone came and took my Dog (my king of animal) for some similar reason. Was there even a law for this when they got the bird that long ago? Immaterial. Removal might well have been correct, but show some compassion. Not heartless, on the phone, grab a 20 year old loved one.

Then it gets worse.

Rigrat comes on and while obviously passionate about the subject, wades in with little thought and probably harms the Dept way more than he helps it. Rather than put forward a balanced expert opinion on why it was the correct move, he loses the plot and lambasts a respected hard working San Pedrano family and pretty much shames them in public. Well played Sir.

Also a poor approach. I have several friends here who highly respect RigRats work and have often talked of him. Perhaps you should consider looking after the birds and leave the talking to someone who's better at it.

Good work though with looking after and rehabilitating rescue Birds - respect on that front.
Posted By: Rigrat

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/05/14 04:25 AM

There was zero victimisation.

Belize Bird Rescue manager (Celisha Guy) was going back to the Police station with Victoria Cawich (Forestry wildlife officer) and a Police officer, after a meeting, when they heard a Macaw squawk. As it is illegal to have a Macaw in Belize unless you possess the correct paperwork, the Forestry Officer knocked on the door and asked to see the birds. I don't know if they were immediately granted permission, I think they were, but when the condition of the birds was seen, and when no paperwork could be produced for the birds, a decision was taken to confiscate them.
No people have been lured to a meeting. The meeting was held as a forum to explain that older indigenous that were well kept could be licenced, young birds freshly poached could not be, and nor can any Macaw unless it has breeding and import paperwork as well as a health certificate. Belize Bird rescue is involved because every bird that will receive a licence needs to be examined by a qualified Avian Technician, (Celisha Guy) the bird will need to be banded with a GOB leg band, and the minimum standards for care have to be seen to be in place. We provide this service free to bird owners, and to the Belize Government.

We do not issue the licences, that is the government.

The only lists that are in existence are a list of people wanting a licence for their birds. They will get a visit and a licence issued if the standards are met. Otherwise the bird will be confiscated.

I don't make these rules, I take no part in enforcing them other than to ensure that wildlife is not harmed in the process.

This decision to confiscate was not taken by Belize Bird Rescue, it was a Forestry and a Police decision. Belize Bird Rescue personnel have no authority whatsoever to confiscate anything. However we do fully and unequivocally support the decision. The birds were receiving substandard care as clearly shown in the photos.

Objections were made by the Hallidays, and a discussion went on for over an hour and a half in a very calm and structured manner. Then Brian Halliday turned up and BBR manager, Forestry officer, and Police officer were told to leave the premises. The Hallidays were informed that they would leave only with the birds. Then things started to get a bit rough and more Police were called.

Brian Halliday greatly inflamed the situation and it got ugly.

Please do not try to equate this incident as being like a child snatched from a family. You don't keep a child neglected in a cage walking around in its own faeces without food and water. You don't keep a child in a house where you know a predator could harm them because you can't be bothered to fix their means of entry.
As for me lambasting the Halliday's, it is quid pro quo. I didn't start it, but the jungle drums are beating with disinformation. We are receiving serious threats. I think that I should be allowed the right of reply no?

As for the balanced reasons why these birds had to be seized? I think that those were clearly outlined in my first post, and then repeated in my second post in numbered order. instead of taking me to task, perhaps a revisit to previous posts is in order.
The result of this was threats to me, my home, my family, and to my staff as well as a huge amount of totally incorrect and ignorant postings on facebook, and various forums. Nobody has been lambasted and I did refrain at first from naming names. But the truth will come out in the end. Ridiculous statements saying that the birds were injured during the seizure and then we consequently plucked the bird at Belize Bird Rescue have to be countered. The birds are absolutely fine, they are now clean, they are receiving a proper diet, and have toys to play with and are being socialised which they enjoy greatly.
Posted By: Marty

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/05/14 10:58 AM

Experts say Island Birds were badly cared for

5 days ago, the Forestry Department, with support of San Pedro Police, confiscated 2 exotic birds from the Halliday family, who have kept them as pets for years.

Since the Hallidays publicly condemned of the Government's actions, different wildlife organizations have weighed in. All the authorities agree that the Halliday family were in the wrong for keeping the birds.

The Belize Humane Society and Animal Shelter says that they are in full support of decision made by Forest Officer Victoria Cawich when she made the decision to confiscate Gabby the cockatoo, and Gabby the Macaw.

The BHSAS says that the birds exhibited behaviour and conditions which are unhealthy. They said quote, "their cages were far too small for them, and they had medical conditions that were not being treated." End Quote.

The Belize Human Society and Animal Shelter adds that Belize's Wildlife Laws are very strict, and that these birds being housed in the country was "a biological accident waiting to happen." There is the fear that this captive Macaw could have mated with Belize's Macaw species, and by doing so, contaminated the local Macaw species.

The BHSAS adds that for Gabby the cockatoo to be kept by his owners, they needed to have had CITIES papers in their name, or some form of proof of authorized importation. The cockatoo is also an endangered species.

Last week, Forest Officer Cawich told us that the birds exhibited behaviour which suggests that they were in distress. That's the exact same thing that the Managing Director of Belize Bird Rescue told us by phone after their continued observation:



Amid all the tough criticism from the authorities, the Halliday family maintains that they've kept the birds in very good health.

Channel 7


Seizure of two non-indigenous birds (17 photos)

This week there was a seizure of two non-indigenous birds by the Belize Forestry department. A cross bred Macaw and a Molluccan Cockatoo. Both birds were owned by a local family who had in the past used them as educational birds in the community. The birds were certainly loved at one stage..... But... Eventually the owner fell ill and the birds were placed in a back yard where they remained. Socialisation stopped, the cages rusted. They were placed on the ground in a yard where dogs roamed. The rusting wires were not rat nor snake proof. The birds were horribly stressed. Fresh food and especially water became intermittent. Feather plucking and endless head bobbing started. But this wasn't the whole problem. The birds had no paperwork whatsoever. No CITES certificate, no breeding history, nothing at all. No import permits. They are effectively illegal immigrants. Both birds were obviously smuggled into Belize and the Molluccan may have been wild caught. Nobody knows. If the Macaw had escaped, the potential for severe damage to the last few breeding pairs of Scarlet Macaws in Belize may have been severely compromised should this cross breed have mated with them.

The Macaw had a leg band that seemed a bit home made. It was so tight that flesh was growing over the band. There were pressure sores under the band, and this was also compounded by stage two bumblefoot. The birds were then transferred to Belize Bird Rescue where they are having palliative care and lots of social interaction.

The birds were seized in a difficult circumstances. The son of the owner became aggressive and ended up being arrested by the Police. And now there is a campaign started to have the birds returned. There is a media smear offensive against the Forestry Officer and also Belize Bird Rescue.

Now we are not political. But we do absolutely fully support the Forestry department and their officers in their actions. We have ended up with them and will care for them until a decision is made on their future.


Pet Bird Owners in San Pedro Taken by Surprise and Furious at Forestry Department
Pet bird owners in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize were taken aback by the actions of members of Belize’s Forestry Department as they raided private homes and confiscated pet birds from loving families after they had announced they would not be taking away the pets from anybody. At the end of the raid, one man was arrested and pet owners sympathized with the traumatized family worrying if their pets would be taken from them. Brian Halliday was trying to keep members of the Belize Forestry Department from taking his two pet birds, one being a Cockatoo and the other a Macaw, that the family had been taking care of for over 20 years and had grown very much attached to. They were, in fact, cared for like a member of their own family. But officials from the Forestry Department arrived to their house accompanied with police officers ready to confiscate the family’s two exotic birds.

Posted By: lovey and thurston

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/05/14 03:52 PM

Stop posting more pictures to support your case. We saw them and have seen that this might have been justified. You will not achieve anything but more resentment if you continue to post . Let it rest, you have the birds in your protection. Enough!
Posted By: Rigrat

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 08/07/14 12:17 PM

Originally Posted by lovey and thurston
Stop posting more pictures to support your case. We saw them and have seen that this might have been justified. You will not achieve anything but more resentment if you continue to post . Let it rest, you have the birds in your protection. Enough!


No more pictures have been posted. Why have you asked me to stop posting more pictures? There may be some resentment but actually there has in general been overwhelming support for the action taken by the government.
Posted By: Rigrat

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 09/10/14 08:16 AM

In an update to the situation with these birds.

On Monday Belize Bird Rescue had a visit from an employee of the Forestry department. He had a letter signed by Marcello Windsor the deputy chief of the Forestry Department that instructed us to hand over the birds. There was no prior warning which would have been great, as it would have given us a chance to prepare the birds and calm them down.

After checking the veracity of the letter, and after several false starts, (no travel cages, no personnel experienced in bird handling, Travel cages that were far too small etc.) the birds were removed from our care and handed back to the Halliday family. Their method of removal was videoed and I have to say was a little brutal. We will be taking this up with the Forestry department as it was unnecessary to act in this fashion.

However on an extremely bright note, the Hallidays have taken great strides to improve the caging for the birds, and have welcomed advice on the future care. The birds will be issued retrospective permits,and hopefully the birds will have long and happy lives under their care. Taking care of parrots is not easy, and it is always expensive. The Hallidays are well aware of this and appear very willing to do whatever it takes to make the birds happy.

So all in all I think it is a great result for all concerned.
Posted By: Chris

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 09/10/14 05:38 PM

Excellent!
Posted By: bywarren

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 09/10/14 07:42 PM

Would seem like the final outcome is reasonable. Too bad calmer heads and better reasoning wasn't used from the start.
Posted By: Welland

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 09/12/14 01:57 AM

Hope it all works out for everyone especially the birds.
Posted By: Chris

Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro - 09/17/14 12:49 AM

Proof that "When it comes to real wildlife conservation, Belize is completely faux." //ambergriscaye.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/495645/Hol_Chan_loses_PACT_Grant_for_.html#Post495645
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