‘Reject Zoo’s Bid to Capture More Baby Egrets,’ PETA Tells State, Feds

Four Nestlings Die, Authorities Alerted Over Protected Birds

For Immediate Release:
June 12, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

San Antonio – The San Antonio Zoo’s haste to get state- and federally protected egret nestlings and their droppings off its property has resulted in the deaths of at least four birds—so today, lawyers for PETA sent urgent letters to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) asking the agencies to deny the zoo’s request to remove more birds. The group has also posted an action alert on its popular website asking visitors to contact the zoo and urge it to stop its cruel and deadly relocation scheme.

According to news reports, on June 3 the San Antonio Zoo dropped off nine cardboard boxes containing 234 egret nestlings at Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation with very little notice, and four of the baby birds arrived dead after they were torn away from their nests in trees on zoo property. Cyndi Nelson, the wildlife center’s director, describes egrets—who are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and Texas wildlife law—as very fragile animals who become stressed easily and don’t travel well. The wholesale removal of hundreds of babies from their nests before being packed into boxes and transported to the rescue center is traumatic for both the nestlings and their loving parents.

“The San Antonio Zoo is terrifying, killing, and disrupting the families of protected birds and simply dumping the young animals in alien surroundings,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is asking the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to conduct a thorough environmental assessment study and to consider more bird-friendly options, as required by law.”

The MBTA expressly prohibits capturing, killing, and transporting protected birds without a permit. Even with a permit, holders can’t kill birds unless specifically authorized. MBTA regulation also provides, “Any live wildlife possessed under a permit must be maintained under humane and healthful conditions.” Texas law also prohibits killing egrets.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind