As many of you already know, Rambo the free-flighted macaw, of Belgium, was shot down December 29, 2018, by a hunter. Shock and empathy for his owner resounded throughout public media platforms. In messaging, grieving and angry parrot owners expressed their own sense of loss at Rambo’s ending and wondered how they could help Rambo’s family. Below, we provide some avenues of helping Rambo’s family and legal developments.
The shooting occurred over private farm land where the macaws had permission to fly. Rambo wore a colored vest which held his tracker, but whether the hunter could or did see the tracker is not known. The impact of the shot and the subsequent ravaging by a hunting dog led Rambo to his tragic and untimely death. According to one news source, the hunter, a 53-year-old man, asserted a right to shoot any non-native bird, without exception, even for pet birds.
Rambo was only three, and as the commemorative slide show below shows, he was the “apple of his father’s eye”. We share this slide show by his parront both in Rambo’s honor, and in recognition that snapshots from the Life of Rambo poignantly illustrate the deep love and committed relationship between a parront and his free-flighted macaws.
In Rambo’s case, according to another news source, the hunter apologized after learning Rambo was a pet. However, the probability of a brightly colored macaw NOT being a pet in the Netherlands is low so, retrospectively, one readily suspects at least a momentary impulse of trophy-hunting mentality.
Initially Rambo’s parront launched a petition asking the Belgium government to do three things:
- Investigate the shooting;
- Enact legislation which would set forth an exact list of species available for hunting and prohibit the shooting of any other species; and
- That the legislation further provide that the only instances in designating a species a pest could an exemption be obtained and that potential pests be set forth in law.
While each country differs in laws governing hunting, prey, and the rights of pets and their owners, the more we learn about bird health and abilities, the practices of free-flight training and free-flight grow. As this example shows, parronts of free-flying birds may want to study their nation’s laws and lobby for legislation that adequately protects their pet birds in activities undertaken to promote their flourishing and health. Check for your national bird organizations online; consider joining. Many of these may engage in legislative initiatives that can protect your pet ownership rights.
For those flying in the country, remember also to know the hunting seasons and avoid days of heavy hunting such as the opening and closing of seasons for other birds, such as quail or fowl, where a shotgun similarly would already be in a hunter’s hands.
Currently, Rambo’s owner is pursuing the matter at law. Legal representation is very expensive there as in many places. If you would like to contribute to the funds for representation, click here for a site that allows you to contribute internationally via PayPal. Otherwise contributions may be made to this special bank account: BE61 9733 5988 7717 (BIC: ARSPBE22). Rambo’s story and the related efforts now have a dedicated website, accessible by clicking here. Please see Mero Ara or Ellen Uittenbogaard for further information.