POLL: Should African Grey Parrots be protected from illegal trafficking?

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African grey parrots are gorgeous birds who are well-known for their incredible intelligence that’s considered to be on the same level as a small child, and for their amazing ability to learn and mimic human speech. Unfortunately, the qualities that make us want them are also causing major problems for them.

The demand for African grey parrots, who are native to east, central and west Africa, has led them to become one of the world’s most heavily trafficked birds. Heartbreaking footage that was recently released by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) shows the toll the demand for the pet trade has continued to take on them.

According to WCS, the birds were confiscated from in the Republic of Congo where thousands of individuals were destined for the pet trade. They were likely headed for the , where they go before being sent to markets in Europe and the Middle East.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Thankfully the individuals who were confiscated were taken to a rescue and rehabilitation facility built by WCS where they were treated for injuries, and other issues, before being prepared to return to the wild. Although many didn’t survive the stress of the ordeal, nearly 900 of them have already been set free.

“It was heartbreaking to see so many injured parrots struggling to stay alive,” said David Oehler, Curator for Ornithology with WCS’s Bronx Zoo. “The WCS Congo veterinary staff is making heroic efforts to save as many parrots as possible, and we were honored to provide our expertise and assistance.”

According to WCS, prices for African grey parrots have quintupled over the last year, which has caused a worrying increase in . Sadly, the demand for these birds continues to put the species at risk, and causes immeasurable suffering to individuals who are torn from the wild. The organization noted that conservationists estimate that for every one that makes it to a pet store, 20 others lose their lives.

Data from the legal trade shows that more than 1.3 million African grey parrots were exported from range states between 1982 to 2001, but given how many don’t survive, the actual number is estimated to be far higher.

Many conservationists have concerns that if what’s happening to them continues, it may push them to the brink.

Those concerns led to a major victory for their advocates last year at the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17) in Johannesburg, South Africa, where they were moved from Appendix II to Appendix I, which bans their international commercial trade, but enforcement is still clearly a major problem.

The plight of African grey parrots will be addressed again at the next CITES Standing Committee in Geneva being held at the end of the month. Hopefully more will be done to ensure they are protected from the and the footage will help raise awareness about how detrimental the pet trade is to both individuals and the species as a whole.

For more on how to help, check out the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Parrots in Peril campaign.

This article was first published by Care2.com on 20 Nov 2017.

We invite you to share your opinion whether African Grey Parrots should be protected from illegal trafficking? Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page.

Should African Grey Parrots be protected from illegal trafficking?

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Editorial Comment: The purpose of this poll is to highlight important wildlife conservation issues and to encourage discussion on ways to stop . By leaving a comment and sharing this post you can help to raise awareness. Thank you for your support.


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Amy Frank-Artist

Yes, they should! Sadly, I actually have a Timneh African Grey as a ‘pet’. My parents bought her from a breeder when I was 8 years old and she was 8 weeks old. Saba, my Grey, is now 23 years old. She is definitely my little love- but I am very much against the parrot trade. People don’t realize how much work parrots are, how loud they are, messy they are, or how long they live… This leaves ones stolen from the wild and born from breeders eventually passed along person to person or strictly abandoned. If they get sick,… Read more »

Deb Perry-Walter


Linda Savage

Of course!

Jane Rudner


Juanita Cunningham


Mary White

Ooooooohhhhhh yesssss

Linda Badham
Linda Badham


Karen Lyons Kalmenson

as proud, doting parents to our beautiful rescue boy magic mikey, we can truly say that birdie love is so very special but birds belong in the wild.

in a perfect world, our sweet baby would never have been abused by humans…he would be flying free with a flock, a mate and a nestfull of precious baby mikeys.

if you want an avian companion, peeps, please please please go to a shelter and adopt…there are literally millions of birds so needing and deserving of homes.

if you buy, you are part of the poaching process