Endangered Species Handbook

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Wild Bird Conservation Act

     The Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA) of 1992 is an extremely important law restricting the massive importation of wild birds into the United States for the cage bird trade.  This law bans the importation into the United States of the majority of wild-caught birds.  All species listed on the various appendices of CITES were banned from commercial importation one year after passage of the law.  This effectively banned importation of wild parrots, hummingbirds, birds of prey and many other birds on CITES.  Regulations allow importation of birds for captive breeding under permit, and exempt species that are available only as captive-bred birds, such as canaries, cockatiels and budgerigars.  Importation of birds bred in foreign countries is regulated.  Zoos are exempt from the law's provisions, except that they must obtain permits for imports and provide documentation on species to be imported.  The USFWS issues permits for all imported birds not specifically exempted or unlisted by CITES.  The net result of the passage of this bill has been a drastic reduction in bird imports.  (For more information on this law, see the Trade chapter.)

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