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Keywords:

  • Amazona;
  • Brazil;
  • zoo;
  • animal traffic;
  • demography

Abstract

Eleven species of Amazon parrots (genus Amazona) are known to occur in Brazil, and nest poaching and illegal traffic pose serious conservation threats to these species. When the illegal owners realize these animals are incompatible with their expectations and lifestyle, or when the police arrests traders and owners, these trafficked animals are often considered unfit for release and sent to local zoos and captive breeders. A retrospective survey of animal and necropsy records from 1986 to 2007 was used to evaluate the impacts of animal traffic on the population composition and mortality patterns of Amazon parrots at the Quinzinho de Barros Municipal Zoological Park, Sorocaba, Brazil. Data were obtained for 374 Amazon parrots of ten Brazilian species, and there was evidence that the studied population could be split into two major groups: a majority belonging to the Amazona aestiva species and a minority belonging to the remaining species. In comparison, the animals of the first group were more frequently admitted from traffic-related origins (98 vs. 75%), had a shorter lifespan (median 301 days vs. 848 days) and a higher mortality within the first year postadmission (54 vs. 37%), were less likely to receive expensive treatments, and were more frequently housed off-exhibit. On an average, parrots were found to have a short postadmission lifespan (median 356 days), with 92.5% of the birds dying within their first five years in captivity. The paper discusses the difficult dilemmas these incoming traffic-related animals pose to zoo management and official anti-traffic policies. Zoo Biol 29:600–614, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.