Phoenix organization working to keep feathers off the black market

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They have just about every kind of bird feather you can imagine and even whole birds, like hawks and owls. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) They have just about every kind of bird feather you can imagine and even whole birds, like hawks and owls. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
There are 140 species in inventory. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) There are 140 species in inventory. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

There is an incredible resource right here in Phoenix. There is only one other like it, in the entire United States.

Its a place where Native Americans can get feathers and bird parts for their ceremonies and it's federally approved.

Inside Liberty Wildlife in Phoenix, there's a non-eagle feather repository, where a person, who can prove their Native American blood, can get feathers or bird parts of their choice.

They have just about every kind of bird feather you can imagine and even whole birds, like hawks and owls.

[SPECIAL SECTION: CBS 5 This Morning]

There are 140 species in inventory.

These items are commonly used in tribal ceremonies.

Sadly, some birds are killed simply to obtain the feathers and sold on the black market to those who will pay to get what they want.

[RELATED: 'Baby Bird Baby Shower' returns at Liberty Wildlife in Phoenix]

This is illegal and can result in thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail time. 

"We would like to think that they wouldn't take them from the environment," said Mare Vandyke with Liberty Wildlife's non-eagle feather repository.

"But that is happening and that's why this exists because you're trying to keep these people getting these feathers in the right way," replied CBS 5 This Morning anchor Preston Phillips. 

[MORE: Liberty Wildlife opens new location; will open to public starting this weekend]

"That's right," said Vandyke. "That's very important and I think the big word that needs to get out is that we're here for them. That they don't have to look for a different source. They just go online, they fill out the application, they mail it to us and we ship them the parts and the bird that they need." 
  
Arizona's Family covered the grand opening of the non-eagle feather repository back in 2011. 

Since then, over 3,500 orders have been filled and 173 tribes have been served in 47 states.

[READ MORE: Screech owl returns to the wild]

Many of the donations come from zoos, rehabbers, federal resources and the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Everything is tracked and donor registration is kept.

If you'd like to apply for ceremonial bird feathers, click on the links below.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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