Oct 062016
 

Perry, a five-year-old African grey parrot, is for sale on a well-known pet trade website for £750. She looks in good condition with her large black bill, red tail and white mask and her owner says she can whistle the tune of Flower of Scotland, does a passable imitation of R2D2 and is “very clever and funny”.

What Perry’s Scottish owner does not tell prospective buyers is that the African grey is close to extinction in the wild largely because of the international pet trade.

Although there have been restrictions on the export of these small and intelligent birds since 2009, dealers pay a pittance for tens of thousands of them to be trapped every year in the rainforests of west and central Africa and smuggled out.

Numbers of African grey parrots, much in demand by pet owners, may be down to 1% of historical levels. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

It’s easy to catch them, say researchers from Birdlife, a global grouping of conservation groups. A team of hunters will use decoys or go to the birds’ water and mineral licks in the forests where flocks gather. They then throw nets over them and take dozens at a time.

Once caught they will be smuggled over borders, stuffed in tiny cages and flown illegally to Europe, South Africa, the Middle East and China, where they may fetch up to £1,000 each. All this makes the African grey probably the most highly traded bird in the world, causing their numbers to plummet from Nigeria to Cameroon, and from Ivory Coast to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some conservationists estimate only 1% of their historical numbers remain.

This week moves are afoot that could give hope to the African grey’s future. Nine African states, the European Union and others will ask world governments and EU at the triennial meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) in Johannesburg to give the highest international protection to the bird. But it is far from the only species whose future hangs in the balance and whose fate could be determined at this year’s meeting. The Cites convention, signed by more than 180 countries and the EU, is the best hope the world has of stemming the growth in the £150bn a year wildlife trade and of reversing catastrophic animal and plant losses.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 24 Sep 2016.

 

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

 

 

Share on social media:

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

avatar
Debby Lindsay

Africa and other countries better step it up and watch their resources because they will soon be desolate if they don’t and lose their beautiful wildlife and forests. I don’t understand the heart that thinks this is ok 🙁

What true monsters a species are we! We show not compassion, respect or understanding as we systematically decimate wildlife around the world!

Robert Piller

THE WILDLIFE TADE IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST THREATS TO THE PLANET.

wpDiscuz

Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. POLL: Should Canada ban the hunting of seals? [2449 Views]
  2. POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farming? [1533 Views]
  3. POLL: Should Japan be sanctioned for slaughtering Minke whales? [1483 Views]
  4. POLL: Should the USDA stop using cyanide bombs to control predators? [1428 Views]
  5. POLL: Should Alaska’s refuges be opened for hunting again? [1368 Views]
  6. POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [1228 Views]
  7. POLL: Should Norway stop the annual slaughter of whales? [1126 Views]
  8. Badger buries entire cow in shocking new video [1048 Views]
  9. Is ‘Baiting’ an ethical way to photograph wild owls? [916 Views]
  10. POLL: Should the sale of rhino horns be legalized? [829 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. White Killer Whale Adult Spotted for First Time in Wild [42073 Views]
  2. POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farms? [16836 Views]
  3. POLL: Should fur farming be banned in the European Union? [14116 Views]
  4. Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [12619 Views]
  5. POLL: Should Congress disband Wildlife “Killing” Services? [11131 Views]
  6. POLL: Should driven grouse-shooting be banned? [8639 Views]
  7. POLL: Should grouse shooting on highland estates be banned? [8315 Views]
  8. POLL: Should black bears be killed for Royal Guards’ fur caps? [8061 Views]
  9. POLL: Should China’s dog meat festival be banned? [7427 Views]
  10. POLL: Should the trophy hunting of giraffes be banned? [5377 Views]