Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources & Agriculture says it had put down the 120 birds imported by local pet store 'Pet Master Maldives' as it had no other option after the importer had ignored repeated warnings about the then-illegal birds.
News of the bird killings has taken the nation by storm as authorities scrambled to validate their decision to put down the birds which were illegal when they were first imported back in October.
But then authorities had published a new list of Birds that are deemed legal in the Maldives and that the birds in question had fallen under the new list.
Maldives Attorney General Ibrahim RiffathThe Ministry had sought a recommendation from the Attorney General to clarify the technicalities regarding the bird shipment. The Ministry noted that it took the AG office two months to reply back to the request and that it had said that since the birds were illegal when they were initially imported, the Ministry should take action based on these premises.
No Other Option But to Kill the Birds says the Ministry
Speaking to 'The Press', an official from the Ministry said that it had confiscated illegal plants and animals imported to the Maldives before and that this time it had exhausted all other options before opting to put the birds down.
The Ministry had said that they had put down four shipments of illegally imported birds and had notified the importers before they had killed birds.
It said that the Ministry had given the importers the option of re-exporting the shipments before the birds were put down but the importers had chosen not to take that option.
The Ministry said re-exporting was a financially heavy option and that it had sought advice from the AG office for that reason.
The Official from the Ministry explained that it had tried every option before deciding to put the birds down and had sought long-term solutions by getting help from different government agencies and had even asked the Environment ministry for an island to house the illegal birds.
But none of these had panned out and the Ministry said that it had no option but to kill the birds.
The Birds Were Put Down with a dose of Carbon monoxide
Fisheries Ministry Official said that the 120 birds were put down in the presence of field experts and support staff and that each bird had been given a dose of carbon monoxide.
The Official went on to say that the importers were notified that the birds had been put down but they had not been present during the procedure. However, they were taken to see the birds afterward and the images of the birds currently on social media were taken by them.
Pet Master Maldives has heavy accusations too
The pet store had said that they had imported such shipments of illegal birds into the country before and such shipments had not been held back before.
They said that they had requested the birds be shifted to a place like the Children's Park in Male' and had offered to feed and take care of the birds themselves.
They accused the Ministry of ignoring these requests and choosing abruptly to put the birds down while they had submitted the case to court.