Notice Of Violations Of Law Regarding Removal And Death Of Young Egrets Nesting At the San Antonio Zoo

Today, on behalf of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, we sent a letter to the Director of the San Antonio Zoo and Fish and Wildlife Service officials concerning recent news reports that the FWS has authorized the removal of hundreds of young egrets that have been nesting at the San Antonio Zoo, and requesting that the agency cease authorizing the removal of any more of these birds.  A copy of the Letter can be found here.  The actions in removing the egrets – which has occurred without any public notice and comment and in apparent violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and National Historic Preservation Act – has already resulted in the death of some of the young egrets who were captured, placed in boxes and transported to the San Antonio Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (WRR).  The WRR has been overwhelmed with the very young and fragile birds, who require round-the-clock care and feeding.  The Zoo was apparently given a “depredation” permit by the FWS to remove the birds after complaining about bird droppings from the egret rookery that has been established in trees above one of the Zoo’s exhibits.  Although the Zoo claims that the wildlife is causing a health hazard at the Zoo, there are several alternative measures that could be used to deal with the issue without resorting to wholesale destruction of the rookery and the deaths of young birds.   As we stated in our letter, “It is indeed extremely incongruous that a facility dedicated to the ‘conservation’ of wildlife has resorted to actions that are killing baby egrets protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act as a means of addressing a sanitation issue . . . Young children should be taught by example that there are more ethically responsible and humane ways of dealing with a sanitation problem than rounding up, removing, and causing the death of innocent wildlife.”