Saturday 26 September 2020

Balloonist is fined €68,000 for frightening three parrots to death

A hyacinth macaw. Photo: Jud McCranie via Wikimedia Commons

A ballooning company from Schijndel in Brabant has been told by a court to pay €68,000 in compensation to a parrot collector for killing three rare birds.

The birds literally died of fright when the hot air balloon, which was taking part in a competition in March 2017, sailed by just 50 metres from the bird cage and fired up the balloon’s main burner. The noise of the blast caused the animals, worth tens of thousands of euros, so much stress that they expired.

A Brabant court had established earlier that the birds had died of stress but so far the guilty party had not been identified.

However, height and distance data showed it was a ballooning company from Schijndel that had come closest to the cage, and that the balloon was only 15 metres from the ground.

The balloonist said in his defence he had to fire up the burner to stay airborne.

Places with animals are marked on maps used by balloonists and it is likely that the parrots’ presence was marked as well, local broadcaster Omroep Brabant said.

‘That is where things went wrong,’ balloonist Bram van Loosbroek, who was not involved in the case, said. ‘ But this was an incident.  Balloonists are never reckless. It’s our job and we have to make sure we can continue to do it. And we can only do that if we take the presence of animals on the ground into account.’

The deceased parrots included a €40,000 pair of hyacinth macaws and a yellow naped amazon worth €1,250. The compensation package includes €14,000 for the sale of any young the parrots might have produced.

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