What should you do if you find a macaw with a broken wing in your vegetable garden?
A few years ago, the answer would have been simple. You would have reported the finding of this or any other exotic animal, from a tiger to a crocodile, to CIVS, a nationwide network of government Wildlife Conservation Centers, and they would have sent someone out to your house to pick it up. Over the years, CIVS Centers all over Mexico have rescued thousands of misplaced or mistreated creatures, nursed them back to health and — whenever possible — returned them to a suitable environment in the wild. Today, however, every CIVS Center in Mexico has been shut down, evidence, say animal lovers, of a concerted effort by the present government to weaken or eliminate the country’s environmental protection agencies.
This has left the rescue of exotic and/or endangered species in Mexico basically in the hands of the private sector. One example is the Txori Ornithological Organization, which operates an aviary in Haciendas la Herradura, located 20 kilometers northwest of Guadalajara. The Txori Aviary is an UMA, an Environmental Management Unit licensed and regulated by the government but normally receiving no funding from it. Txori was started in 1986 by engineer Candido Busteros Garcia with the aim of preserving Mexican endangered birds. Today his son Victor carries on his father’s work.
“This project is dedicated to the conservation of Psittacidae, a family of birds including parrots, macaws, cockatoos, agapornis, parakeets, etcetera,” Victor Busteros told me. “Here we focus on Mexican species in danger of extinction. We protect and rehabilitate these birds and we aim to liberate them in places where they once existed but are no longer found, or where the populations have been reduced catastrophically.”