The ara parrot had been trained in free flying and was let out to fly every day by his owner. After his fly Rambo always returned home. However, this was not the case on 29 December 2018. With the land-owner’s permission Rambo had been let out to fly on farmland on the Sint-Jobbaan in Westmalle. However, the farmland is also in area in which hunting is authorised. The hunter, who was shooting pigeons, spotted Rambo and opened fire.
Speaking at his trial the hunter said that he thought that the parrot was an invasive exotic species and as such he was allowed to kill it.
However, the court did not agree as aras don’t live in the wild in Belgium and as such the hunter should first have ascertained whether the bird was someone’s pet. As was indeed the case here.
The court ruled that the hunter had used his weapon injudiciously and that this indicated that he is of a dangerous disposition. However, the fact that he had made efforts to find the parrot’s owner as soon as he released that he had killed someone’s pet was taken into consideration. Rambo was wearing a harness, so it was clear that he belonged to someone. The fact that the man had shown remorse and had said straight away that he was prepared to compensate Rambo’s owner for their loss was also taken into consideration by the court when passing sentence. The accused had no criminal record.
Speaking after the trail Rambo’s owner told VRT Radio 2 that "I don’t think he realises how much suffering he has caused us. I hand-reared Rambo. For three months at got up every night at 2am to feed him. He was like a child to me. In one second, he took him away from me”.