The snatching of a beloved Diego Martin yellow and blue macaw, Gruff, ended within hours after the bird was found and reunited with its owner on Saturday.
Social media users familiar with the adventures of Gruff, a free-flying macaw, usually seen in the Diego Martin district and flying past cars along the district’s highway, were in a frenzy after a video of a man snatching the bird near Crystal Stream, Diego Martin and escaping in a car was shared on various platforms.
Images of the man and his car were shared on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Tik Tok, with the hashtag #FindGruff, listing the number plate of the car, the type of car with a message: “Gruff the macaw has been taken by this man in Diego Martin this morning.”
Many people were appalled that the macaw was stolen in broad daylight and no one intervened even though a man was seen sitting a short distance away when the bird was snatched from the grass.
Responding to e-mailed questions, Gruff’s owner, who asked to be identified only as Katrianna, said the situation was nerve-wracking and she was happy to be reunited with her pet but declined to press charges against the bird-napper.
She said she met the man who stole Gruff and told him, “I have an opportunity to charge you, but that isn’t what I am about.”
Police were able to track the vehicle and its owner using the number plate.
Katrianna said she was overwhelmed by the public’s response to finding her macaw and hoped that the same efforts can be made to find people who go missing or help people in need.
She commended everyone who reached out to provide information that led to Gruff’s rescue.
“This entire situation, this is what I want; us banding together.”
She said she was grateful that the police officers who found the car used by the man after Gruff was taken.
Asked whether a GPS tag to track his whereabouts would now be placed on the macaw, she said, a regular tag was placed on his leg as advised by officials from the Emperor Valley Zoo. She explained that macaws are known to bite off foreign objects off their bodies so, placing a US$1,500 GPS tag on his tail was not feasible.
Katrianna said her daughter named the macaw when they got him as a rescue animal two years ago. She said it was ironic that his name was not reflected in his personality as he “is so unbelievably loving and sweet.”
She said Gruff has been “free-flying” since April 2020. Despite a few incidents over time getting lost, she noted that she did not want to stop him from exploring as it is her way of raising awareness among people.
“We spend a lot of time building awareness for him and other macaws so that people are able to become desensitised to seeing them up and about and are more likely to leave them be rather than trying to catch and cage them.”
She said being in this situation and wanting to raise awareness must rely on her having “a humongous amount of extended love and forgiveness in every single instance.”
“It is my hope that he changes people’s hearts a little bit, even if only one person. Gruff has spread what I hope to spread.”