“He asked me why I set the bird free. I informed him that he had committed a crime and could go to jail,” Rocha said, adding that the young man appeared to get the message.
While it could be argued that Rocha’s approach is misguided, incentivizing the wildlife trade rather than preventing it, he hopes those he encounters will take heed from the example of compassion that he is setting.
“I feel like I fulfill my duties. The important thing is seeing the animal free and happy,” Rocha said. “Animals are responsible for balance in nature and they are connected to our lives. We depend on them and they depend on us, just like we depend on our community.”