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The Tropics Exotic Bird RefugeNot a rescue or sanctuary

F Review updated:

The Tropics Exotic Bird Refuge is not a sanctuary or a refuge for birds, rather it is a way for Mary Bradford to obtain parrots and then sell to breeders.

I re-homed my cockatoo with The Tropics in 2002 because it needed a friend and Mary verbally promised him a permanent home, which was her advocacy. I selected The Tropics because I, after experiencing what I did, realized that birds should not be pets. I called or emailed Mary for the next 5 years to get updates on my bird, and Mary accepted my monies for his upkeep and always said he was fine. Whenever I tried to make arrangements to visit, she said she was sick and couldn’t accept visitors.

Last year, I was adamant about visiting and set a date to come by. Well, she had sold my bird to a breeder and lined up another citron cockatoo for me to view thinking I wouldn’t recognize my own bird! She confessed that she sold my bird to a breeder, but couldn’t remember which one, so gave me the names of citron breeders that she had previously did business with. I have correspondence supporting this.

In my effort to find my bird, I contacted other rescuers, breeders, and parrot people. What they shared about The Tropics is appalling. I wish I had known then what I know now. The Tropics is not a rescue or a sanctuary. It quickly became obvious that Mary is using The Tropics to obtain birds in which she can sell and make a profit.

The owner of a company that had previously provided The Tropics with food and avian supplies responded to my email with this:

“ (her company name)… has supported avian "sanctuaries" to the tune of over $250, 000 over the past 20 years. Now I wish that I had flushed that money down the toilet as it would have been much more enjoyable than hearing … horrid experiences at the hands of avian "saviors" like Mary Bradford. Mary is not the first avian "angel" that we have helped only to find that she sent birds downriver like so many feathered slaves. “

I was contacted by another bird owner who re-homed her severe macaw with Mary and sent money every month for his upkeep. Only after asking Mary did she find out that Baby was sold and Mary doesn’t have records of the transaction.

Mary doesn’t know where my bird is: clearly, she doesn’t have an adoption process and she doesn’t keep records. A volunteer told me she doesn’t keep records in fear of being audited and found out.

I don't know how she maintains her non-profit status since she is selling birds and making money off them!

Responses

  • Ba
    Barbi Lehe Fotland Sep 04, 2020
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Dear Frustrated,
    First, I am truly sorry for your heartache. I read your post this morning, and I feel your pain. In 1999 my husband and I saw Mary Bradford on Jack Hanna's TV program. Because of Mr. Hanna's excellent reputation we felt hopeful when we reached out to Mary regarding the possibility one of our cockatoos going to live at the sanctuary. In 2000 our Moluccan, Tiki, went to live at The Tropics, with a verbal promise from Mary that she would never be sold or given away, but would continue to live at the The Tropics indefinitely. I was in contact with the Bradford's via email and phone (more often email) several times a month for over 5 years, asking for updates and begging for photos. No photos ever came. I would scour the website hoping to catch a photo of Tiki; never saw one photo of her. We too, faithfully sent money to maintain the upkeep of the cockatoo we had placed in their care. Updates consisted of something like, yes, she's doing well. After 5 years we moved into a home that would accomodate Tiki, so I wrote to Mary and told her that we wanted to have Tiki back, that we could now provide what she needed. (We also have a citron crested, who we've had since he was a baby. He'll be 30 years old next month.) Our many attempts were futile, and I have regretted not pursuing that matter further. We withdrew our monthly support, and eventually our support through iGive, and have redirected those monies to a local, reputable cockatoo shelter that also educates the public on what it really means to live with such magnificent creatures.
    I hope, dear Frustrated, that you are able to find some peace...

    0 Votes
  • Ac
    AceLoop Oct 20, 2020

    @Barbi Lehe Fotland My understanding is you were the person who's been obsessively harassing Mary for well over 20 years. I believe this is all well documented. I also feel pretty confident that you have several sock puppet accounts all across the internet obsessively trying to undo any positive work that she has done.

    I would encourage anyone who is interested in a bird rescue to research the validity of this website. There's some pretty interesting information about how it is not regulated, has been discredited, and is run out of Russia. I would also encourage you to research yourself.

    0 Votes
  • Bi
    BirdFan May 29, 2020

    I have done some digging on this site. It has been bashed a good deal for not checking who people are. The ownership is not transparent. Not good for a complaint company. If you look at more reputable sites this one is dragged for unethical practices and not stopping sock puppets, harassment and stalking. I have also read that they will come in and edit reviews if they bash the site.

    0 Votes
  • Bi
    BirdFan May 22, 2020

    Hello. I have worked with Mary for a long time. She takes excellent care of her birds. I think from time to time any rescue struggles with money, but the birds always come first. The idea of Mary selling birds is crazy. She doesn't even charge adoption fees because that is "selling flesh" (to quote Mary.) She takes in the most unwanted of unwanted birds and gives them happy and healthy lives. The birds that can be placed are adopted out and the others are loved and kept in a residential setting and get the privilege of having a real home.

    I would do some looking up on the OP. This is the person that Mary had to get an order of protection against and has created many ridiculous stories about The Tropics and Mary. I would also be very curious to see all the IP addresses for the comments that have something negative to say. I am assuming they are sock puppets (so the OP.)

    I would trust Mary with my and my bird’s life. If someone has questions I would suggest contacting the Tropics directly.

    0 Votes
  • De
    Debra82264 Mar 06, 2012
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    There have been a couple of newspaper reports in the Concord independent tribune about how she was getting rid of birds because she had no money to feed them and she was shutting down not taking any more birds. This has happened twice to three times that I know of. When I called to take some birds to help her out, as I had the room she said sure if I wanted to buy them!! She wanted 600.00 for a Grey. I told her no when she needed real help let me know. This is fact. You can look it up in the old papers of Concord and Kannapolis. This is not a good thing really.

    2 Votes
  • Pa
    Patty4473 Jun 24, 2019

    @Debra82264 She told me today because I'm a cancer survivor that I did not need a bird because I told her I was looking for a friend she told me the birds were mean and I would get bitten I was crashed I was ready to buy a bird

    0 Votes
  • Pa
    Patty4473 Jun 24, 2019

    @Patty4473 Sorry for the misspelling I was crushed

    0 Votes
  • Te
    teyi Jun 15, 2011

    I do not what to think, I met Mary Bradford when I have to give Lucas away because I have to leave the country. She promise me she will keep him well, I gave her a good amount of money and promise me to keep him well. Least than a week after I left I email Mary to see how was Lucas doing, she said that a family want him and if a was willing to give him away. I was offended and hurt, I just separate from my baby and that was not what we talk about. I wrote at least twice a month for several months. She end up not replying my back. I even made phone calls from overseas where I was living to see if I could heard lucas on the phone, she always said she was far and cold not reach him. I am sure she either sold him of gave him away. If break my hard still after so many years, I just hope that of she gave him to a family that he is happy and loved.

    2 Votes
  • Ju
    justice-served May 08, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I did not desire to elaborate anymore with my prior comment, but let me also state this, please. I do NOT personally know the owners/sponsors of The Tropics, and have no other vested interest in defending them other than my having visited them awhile ago, and because I live nearby and know what life is like in Kannapolis, NC right now due to the economy. Having visited them in the past, and knowing where they live in Kannapolis, NC, let me assure you that they are NOT wealthy people, and live in very modest means. The birds all had indoor shelters and some of them were kept in her home at times due to their requiring closer supervision for a time - maybe due to sickness, or emotional needs, etc. I have spoken with Mary on the phone a few times over the years, and she seems sincere in her plea for sponsorship support to help with the caring of the birds. Today, for Mother's Day, I gave a donation to The Tropics as a memorial to my husband's mother, who passed several years ago. Living in Concord, NC and understanding the economy now, I could not think of a better memorial than this tribute paid to Mama, as she flies free now! like all those exotic birds should be doing if we, the people, did not capture them and steal their souls the first time.

    1 Votes
  • An
    Annonamous12 May 08, 2011

    Disagree, totally with the complaint! This is a VERY sad person indeed.

    0 Votes
  • An
    Annonamous12 May 08, 2011

    I was referring to the latest comment, not the initial complaint when I said it was totally unsubstantiated...that is the complaint that is unsubstantiated, the most recent comment tells it like it is for all who rescue animals, people, the poor, widows, orphans both animal and human! What did the complainer do, she gave up her bird because it wasn't withing her WANT to keep it and fulfill HER responsibility.

    0 Votes
  • An
    Annonamous12 May 08, 2011

    totally unsubstantiated!

    1 Votes
  • Ju
    justice-served May 08, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I live in Concord, NC and have visited this site a few years ago. I also support a local waterfowl rescue group and several dog / cat rescues. I can tell you, when you have to care daily for more than just a handful of animals of ANY species, that things get messy real quick. Sometimes it is not a pretty site, but a realistic one. It isn't a matter of anyone's UNcaring, but a matter of lifelong caring and commitment - to do the same thankless cleaning / feeding / loving tasks again and again with no weekends off, no holidays, no free time...all this due to one's choosing to love the "donated" or "discarded" animals from person's who were either initially misled about pet ownership, or otherwise just naive about what it really takes to have just ONE pet for life...and for like 20+ years of life! It costs lots of money to own several pets. When you have many of them to care for and donations are down, which pet do you think you should NOT care for anymore? It is a hard choice to make, but one that would have to BE made to eliminate going bankrupt, thereby causing more suffering to the special needs pets that should never be placed back into the hands of naive, uncommitted, or unprepared owners. Maybe a healthy bird was adopted out to generate much needed money to continue caring for the others - so what? The only thing to really ask yourself is...were YOU a good owner? What would you do, did you do, to help with the bird's welfare for the rest of it's life?

    1 Votes
  • Fr
    frustratedtwo Apr 05, 2011

    I too left my conure with her and I had a bad feeling about it from the moment I walked inside. She seemed like a bird hoarder. The cages were all filthy, it didn't seem like she and here husband were able to properly care for the birds, she swore she had volunteers but there were none there while we were there. I wish I didn't have to leave him with her. Who knows what became of Mango...

    -1 Votes
  • Ha
    HareWytch 369 Dec 19, 2009

    I personally know Mary Bradford, although I have broken all ties with her, and can say she is not a friend to birds. She is in business for money not the welfare of birds. Anyone who is thinking of giving her birds or money needs to go elsewhere. She will tell you anything to get your bird and then sell your bird as soon as possible. The birds she has do not get proper care. I know because I used to help her, until I could not take it.
    The birds are the ones who suffer, not Mary Bradford. This is a bad and sad situation.
    Hare 369

    1 Votes
  • Pa
    Patty4473 Jun 24, 2019

    @HareWytch 369 I contact her today because I'm looking to adopt a cockatiel and she told me that because I had cancer that I didn't need to adopt a bird and that they are mean and I would get bit she told me how bad it was that people breed Birds and also that she did not think I was a good fit I'm a 58 year-old woman that just recovered from breast cancer and I wanted to adopt a forever friend she told me everything bad about birds and that I should never get one she even went as far as told me what if you die from cancer who's going to take care of the bird

    0 Votes
  • Fu
    furluvr Oct 24, 2019

    @Patty4473 @Patty4473 I am so sorry to hear that you have cancer. And I would probably try to get myself a companion too. I have had birds in the past, even had babies where I was hand feeding them, that is just so precious to me! I wish you much luck with your cancer and I hope you find a companion... we all need to have a Lil buddy. I have 2 dogs that are my Lil ol ladies LOL!!! They were born in 2012, the year my mother had passed.

    -1 Votes
  • Ef
    e-Farmer Aug 03, 2009

    It would be nice if you could provide more detailed facts. I find it odd that you have quoted others as saying similar things about Tropics Exotic Bird refuge, yet I find nothing through multiple internet searches that corroberate your story. I do not dispute that this may have happened to you, however it sounds more like sloppy records than nefarious operations.

    0 Votes
  • Ci
    Cisco7819 May 08, 2009

    I would contact the ASPCA and other local agencies. I f she is trying to run a non profit organization that is actually making a profit she could be investigated by the IRS. I believe you can make an anonymous call to them about tax cheats.

    It's one thing to breed and sell birds and quite another to misrepresent that you are running a rescue/sanctuary. She should be shut down.

    0 Votes

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