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Dear Parrots magazine,

In Response

I am writing in response to the letters published in “Parrots Letters Page” (May 2010)from Winston White and Rosemary Low commenting on the article I wrote “Amazons of the Caribbean Islands”. Firstly I would like to say the article was intended to highlight Amazons that are rarely mentioned and to give readers, who are not as fortunate as myself, a hint and feel of the Islands I mentioned.

Mr White, you obviously spend quite a lot of your time on the Island of Jamaica. If I had written an in depth article quoting all the facts and figures readers would have been extremely bored and no doubt editorial would have condensed it. The article had been very slightly changed by editorial as it stood but I did approve it before it went to print. All the Amazons I wrote about are protected species, having said that, it does not mean they are not trapped illegally. I was told local people sometimes do trap the Jamaican Black Billed and the Jamaican Yellow Billed for pets.

George was a Jamaican who knew what was going on locally. If you want to save a species you educate local people and if you want to know what is happening locally, you ask local people. That is what I did and, NO, George was not the only person I spoke with. He was no expert, but knew what the local situation was and told me he sometimes acts as a guide, although I also had other guides. I was told the Jamaican Black Billed and the Jamaican Yellow Billed, were once a common sight but now they have become a rare sight. I found your comments an insult to my intelligence. If you know such a lot about the two species in question, I suggest you write an in-depth article for Parrots magazine giving the latest facts and figures from the researchers/scientist you appear to know, who one assumes works for a recognised Conservation organisation.

As regards Rosemary’s Low’s comments. I have to admit there was an error in a figure quoted in my article. It should have stated that St. Lucia has 19,000 acres of rainforest but read 190 acres instead - it would seem that the 00’s got missed off somehow. This was an error that I did not pick up on when I read the proof copy and 19,000 was, in fact, the figure quoted by my guide. Rosemary states there are 20,000 acres so this must be the very latest figure. There is quite a lot of re-growth of forest and the local Government realises it’s value for attracting visitors. Sorry to differ, but Bananas are still grown, along with other exotic fruits. Cruise Ships stock up while in dock and some produce is still exported, but may not be to Europe.

Holiday makers can now zip cord through the forest. They can hike. They can take a tram ride up into the forest but it is the undisturbed central forest that is home to the Versicolor Amazon. It is remarkable that a species that was so critically endangered, less than a hundred in 1979 and a range of 40 sq miles, has made such a remarkable recovery thanks to the local Government, DWCT and local people who are very proud of their National Bird. When I said, there were no captive Versicolor on the Island, I should have made it clear I was referring to captive for breeding purposes. I was not aware there were two Versicolor kept singly and I feel this is rather sad for these parrots. Sorry, but I am not a lover of zoo’s so would not have visited had I known the parrots were there. Thank you Rosemary for your up to date figures.

Pam Fryer (by email)




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