Posted: July 25, 2012, 3:15 p.m. PST
© Musiime Muramura
Wild African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus), newly released after being seized from illegal traders.
On July 25, 2012, the World Parrot Trust
, the leading organization campaigning for the protection and welfare of wild and captive parrots, called on the world’s wildlife trade body to suspend the trade in endangered parrots from two African countries. The trade suspension would apply to African grey parrots
being exported from Cameroon and Congo.
Both Cameroon and Congo have failed to implement Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) directives for the species by permitting exports far in excess of specified quotas. From 2005 to 2010, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has exported more than 3,100 individuals in excess of their CITES approved quota. In Cameroon from 2000 to 2005, exports averaged more than 3,700 birds in excess of their export quota. The World Parrot Trust is therefore urging that CITES recommend suspending all trade in these birds from Congo and Cameroon.
The Trust’s call is backed with a petition signed by more than 36,000 people from 130 countries.
African greys are the most proficient talking birds on Earth and are credited by researchers with the mental abilities of human toddlers. The birds’ intelligence makes them popular as pets and this demand fuels a thriving trade in wild-caught birds. This pressure has led to rapid declines in the wild, causing them to be listed as a Globally Threatened Species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently reviewed the status of the African grey parrot, and found these birds to be extinct in large portions of its former range and showing dramatic declines nearly everywhere the species still occurs. The review recognized two species of grey parrots and categorized both as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN's Red List.
For much of the past two decades, African grey parrots have been among the most heavily traded of all listed species of birds and mammals. Over a half million of these birds have entered international trade legally over the past two decades alone.
Tony Juniper, leading conservationist and World Parrot Trust ambassador, said that it is high time the international community acted to prevent further decline in wild grey parrot populations.
The World Parrot Trust’s Executive Director, Jamie Gilardi added, “There is no excuse for inaction. CITES’ primary purpose is to protect wildlife from unsustainable trade. By any measure, the grey parrot trade is absolutely unsustainable. The situation is urgent and steps need to be taken this week to save these remarkable birds."
For more information about the World Parrot Trust, check out an excluse BirdChannel interview here.