Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Grey trade prohibited

3 October 2016

Categories: Wildlife Trade News

African grey parrots finally got a break today when Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) voted at its Conference of the Parties in Johannesburg to prohibit international commercial trade in the species.

Populations are in steep decline across much of their range, which takes in 21 African countries mainly in the west and centre of the continent. They are now extremely rare or locally extinct in at least 8 countries which were former strongholds.

Trapping of live birds for the international pet trade is the main threat to the species, and the issue CITES is best placed to address. Exports of at least 1.3 million live birds taken from the wild have been recorded since 1975, although the true impact is much greater since 70% or more captured birds die before they are exported, and these numbers aren’t recorded.

Born Free’s Associate Director Mark Jones said: “The capture of African grey parrots for live pet markets is a heinous activity that should have been banned years ago. A huge proportion of the birds die horrific deaths before they can be exported, and those that survive are usually doomed to live solitary lives in inappropriate captive conditions with poor care. Many of these highly intelligent and social birds suffer horrific physical and psychological problems in captivity which can go on for years, and end up self-harming. African grey parrots belong in the wild, not in cages in people’s homes.”

The proposal to ban the trade was tabled by range States Angola, Chad, Gabon, Guinea, Nigeria Senegal and Togo, alongside the European Union and the USA. The ban, which still needs to be endorsed at the final plenary session of the CITES meeting, comes after years of discussions between countries on whether to take such action.

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