Nancy Lewis Cullity Parrot Protection Act signed into law by Arawak Nation of Guyana

On September 17th, 2003 Chief David Simon of the Pakuri Arawak territory signed the Nancy Lewis Cullity Parrot Protection Act making the entire territory, of some 240 sq. miles, safe for parrots. The national government of Guyana now allows for the export of 30,000 parrots from this nearly pristine Amazon basin country and is now threatening the survival of many species of parrots with extinction. This act is the first of it's kind to become law on an indigenous reservation in all of Latin America & Chief David Mark Simon becomes the first indigenous leader to make this noble first step.

This courageous and ground breaking step was initiated by Barbados born Damon Gerard Corrie, inheritor of the hereditary Chieftaincy (now ceremonial) of the Eagle Clan of the Arawaks of Guyana. Mr. Corrie's desire to protect the natural balance of his people's territory was reinvigorated after a visit to the village by Brian and Nancy Cullity in 2000/1. While visiting, Nancy's love for parrots and the need to protect them meshed with Damon's own respect for his birthright and for the desire to encourage eco-friendly tourism to Guyana. Nancy's untimely death of cancer served as the impetus for Brian to establish a continuing relationship with the Arawak people and he and Marc Johnson of Foster Parrots revisited the village in 2002/3. While there the need for international support for an effort to save the dwindling parrot populations led Damon to petition the elected Chief David Simon to enact a law, drafted by Foster Parrots Ltd., protecting the parrots of their territory from hunting, for food and for the pet trade.

Foster Parrots hopes to enlist the help of other like minded individuals and organizations to assist in the tree planting, captive breeding program and artificial nesting site construction needed and it is hoped that this act will serve as an example to other indigenous peoples worldwide to follow suit and set their native lands aside as preserves.

For more information about the Eagle Clan Arawaks of Pakuri Territory please visit: First Nations Vacations

A Courageous Effort

On September 17th of 2003 an historic and unique event took place to begin the effort of establishing an oasis of safety for all parrots within the 240 square mile territory of the Pakuri Arawak Amerindians. This journey began in December 2000 when Brian and Nancy Cullity, board members of Foster Parrots, visited this natural and beautiful land. Guyana is one of the few nations on earth today that is largely unspoiled. With a population of under 800,000, most of whom live on the coast, it still offers the traveler a unique and rugged view of the rainforest. If one looks at a map of projected rain forest destruction, Guyana and its neighbor Suriname are two of the few places that will be left with the potential of seeing any of this endangered ecosystem. Currently the national government allows the exportation of some 30,000 parrots from its shores destined for the European and Asian markets. It does not take any imagination to see that before long there will be no parrots left here unless something is done to save them now.

Brian and Nancy were two of the first people to adopt a parrot, a Senegal parrot named Sebastian, from Foster Parrots back in 1993. Brian and Nancy had made many trips to South and Central America and they had a deep understanding and love for the people and the unspoiled lands they visited. They also had a deep appreciation for the wildlife which led them to seek an adoptive relationship with a parrot here in the US. Sebastian left them both with many battle scars but the importance of their relationship was much deeper than just this one bird. While spending time with Damon, Barney, Gal and others in the village Brian and Nancy impressed Damon with the need to preserve the natural wildlife if there was ever to be any hope for an eco-tourist business that would bring some financial gains to this community. Their deep love of the birds of Guyana made an impression on Damon and he began a tortoise preservation effort, buying tortoises from vendors in Georgetown and thus saving them from the fate of being eaten.

Similar efforts are planned for the iguanas sold in the markets for food and it is hoped that these species among others will be reintroduced into the village.

Brian and I revisited this village in December of 2002 and we had the opportunity to talk with Damon at length about the need to start the preservation and reintroduction process now, while there were still wild parrots in the area and while there was still time. Fully realizing that for the eco-tourism potential to be realized something more than just giving the potential visitor something to look at was vital. Damon realized that he needed to show the world the depth of the commitment by this village in preserving the wildlife of the land around them. Damon convinced the elected chef that this was a road to be traveled by the entire community and perhaps the entire indigenous 'fourth world'. To this end the Nancy Lewis Cullity Act was written by Foster Parrots and signed into law by Chief David Mark Simon on September 17, 2003.

Now, it is time to put our money where our hearts are. For the parrot guardians and conservation groups here in America that wish to be able to visit a place where they can experience the freedom of parrots and also be moved by the experience of being in one of the worlds last wild places. We hope that we will be joined by anyone who understands the need for parrots to be wild and free.

Please help. If you wish to help please send your donations, checks made out to The Nancy Cullity Parrot Fund may be sent in care of:

Foster Parrots, PO Box 650, Rockland, MA 02370. We will forward all donations (not tax deductible at this time) to Damon.

US$10 will hire one person for one day dedicated to planting food source trees, i.e. Ite palm, mango, etc. for the parrots.

US$10 will save one tortoise from being eaten.

13 Highgate Gardens
Wildey, St. Michael
Tel: (246) 228-0227    Fax: (246) 437-2018

Copyright © 2012 Damon G. Corrie

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