San Francisco Zoo/Facebook
Three parrots have moved into the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens after the trio was smuggled into the United States.
On Monday, the California zoo announced that it took in three 12-week-old yellow-crowned Amazon parrot chicks after the authorities confiscated the birds from smugglers. The parrot species is native to South America, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago, and is a popular exotic pet due to the bird's high intelligence and ability to mimic what people say.
"Upon arrival, our veterinary staff gave the chicks an initial health check-up and found them to be healthy," the zoo said on Facebook alongside a photo of the parrots. "At 12-weeks-old, the chicks are playful and curious and are still being hand-fed by animal care staff but starting to eat food on their own and becoming more independent."
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
"These beautiful birds were confiscated at the point of entry into the U.S. and placed here by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," the statement continued. "Unfortunately, birds native to South and Central America that are illegally smuggled represent one of the largest threats to South American birds."
Yellow-crowned Amazon parrots have a life expectancy between 60 and 80 years, meaning caring for one of the birds is often a lifetime commitment. When parrot chicks are smuggled internationally, they are typically shipped in containers with poor ventilation and kept without water.
"Our very own South American Tropical Rainforest exhibit focuses on the ongoing crisis created by wildlife trafficking, as illegal smuggling has threatened the very existence of many animal and plant species," the zoo added. "We are happy to provide a home for these beauties!"
The three rescued parrot chicks will remain at the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens but won't be out on exhibit until they have matured, the zoo announced.