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.
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.
Share on social media:
You may also like:
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- POLL: Should the cruel sport of bullfighting be banned? [1383 Views]
- Karma Strikes Again: Trophy Hunter Killed by Elephant [1120 Views]
- POLL: Should the Grizzly Bear be removed from the Endangered Species List? [1007 Views]
- POLL: Should all circuses with wild animals be closed down? [967 Views]
- ‘Kill them, kill them, kill them’: the volunteer army plotting to wipe out Britain’s grey squirrels [817 Views]
- $10,000 reward offered to find killer of famous Yellowstone white wolf [701 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [626 Views]
- Elephants Can’t Wait to Meet New Rescued Baby at Sanctuary [617 Views]
- Heroic Boat Captain Rescues Entangled Great White Shark [614 Views]
- Live donkey fed to tigers in shareholder protest at Chinese zoo [587 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- White Killer Whale Adult Spotted for First Time in Wild [42100 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farms? [16884 Views]
- POLL: Should Congress disband Wildlife “Killing” Services? [11134 Views]
- POLL: Should fur farming be banned in the European Union? [10607 Views]
- POLL: Should driven grouse-shooting be banned? [8675 Views]
- POLL: Should grouse shooting on highland estates be banned? [8246 Views]
- POLL: Should China’s dog meat festival be banned? [7444 Views]
- POLL: Should the killing of giraffes be outlawed? [4685 Views]
- POLL: Should the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroes be stopped? [4657 Views]
- POLL: Should Spain’s “Running of the Bulls” festival be banned? [4609 Views]