by Ian Hinze
The Cape parrot is to be upgraded to CITES appendix 1 as quickly as possible, thereby restricting movement of the bird to those only bred legally in captivity. Critical numbers of only 396 specimans being recorded at the last count in. Illegal trapping of the wild bird for the avicultural trade has been a major problem and likely to continue with even greater zeal as the species becomes rarer and, therefore, more prized. The Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) has taken its toll of both wild and captive birds.
To highlight the plight of the Cape parrot (Poicephalus robustus) in the wild a workshop, organized by a team headed by Prof. Mike Perrin of the Department of Zoology at the University of Natal, South Africa, was recently held.
Applying a preservation order on the Cape parrot and instigating a national stud book are, in themselves, not enough as its favored breeding habitat, Afro-montane Podocarpus (Yellowwood) forests. It is being depleted by the timber logging industry, forcing the bird to venture into squatter camps in its search for food and putting itself at serious risk of being caught, or worse, killed.