Nothing to squawk at: CBP seizes 10 baby parrots at Hidalgo International Bridge

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CBP recently seized 10 baby parrots at the Hidalgo International Bridge. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted some unusual cargo at the Hidalgo International Bridge last Saturday.

According to a news release, a vehicle was found to have 10 live baby parrots.

“Our frontline CBP officers and agriculture specialists encountered something we don’t see every day, 10 baby parrots hidden within a passenger vehicle,” Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry, said in the news release. “As this enforcement action illustrates, CBP remains committed to upholding our agriculture mission, preventing the spread of animal diseases, and preventing the exploitation of protected animals.”

CBP officers had referred the suspect vehicle for secondary inspection when the officers, along with agricultural specialists, found five parrot chicks in a pillowcase and five more in the area of the front seat.

A total of 10 live yellow-headed parrots were discovered in the vehicle, resulting in an undisclosed penalty for the driver.

The parrots were transferred over to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Services, according to the release.

“CBP would like to remind the public of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service … regulations that prohibit live birds, fresh eggs, and raw poultry from Mexico as Mexico is affected with virulent Newcastle disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza … . Both diseases affect poultry, are serious diseases of concern, and are highly contagious,” the release read.

Yellow-headed parrots, also known as Amazona oratrix, are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Proper paperwork must be filed for lawful importation.

Fines for attempting to bring such animals could range from $300 to $1,000, as well as leading to traveler delays.