“72% of the birds in this park are rescued from being trafficked.”
The information sign in Spanish, Portuguese and English stands for all to read, shortly after the flock of flamingos, a few cheeky parrots and the shock of crimson ibis – so bright they hurt your eyes.
But it’s not the rigor of the orange beaked toucans that swoop back and forth progressively lower till they almost touch your head; it is not the hummingbirds’ fluorescing body that flits and zips between insects and flowers; it is not even the last five remaining birds of their kind, brought to the park to assist breeding, that brings a tear to my eye.
How did we get to this? A world where the waters of Iguacu falls now run brown due to deforestation, that birds have to be kept in cages to preserve the species, and we can count on two hands the number of animals that remain in the small patch of still-standing rainforest.
Tourism has an evil side. Mass movements of people, unsustainable habits and products have irreversibly diminished the natural beauty of places all around the world. Mount Everest and Venice most recently in the news.
Places like the Parque des Avas, which are making a difference, educating and sharing a vision for the future, must be commended.
If you visit Iguacu, visit the bird park, spend your money and your time and give a little back to the natural world.