In April 2011, 161 wild-caught African Grey parrots were confiscated by the South African Military Police as they were about to be smuggled across the Lebombo border between South Africa and Mozambique.
Initially the authorities intended to euthanize all the parrots but thankfully representatives from the World Parrot Trust (WPT) intervened and convinced the authorities to allow the birds to be rehabilitated and released back to the wild. Since April the birds have been cared for in an official quarantine, with all expenses paid for by WPT. Arrangements were underway to move the birds to a new home in a part of their former range, where they could be better protected and live free.
Just this week however, WPT was informed by the State Attorney acting for the South African Department for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, of its decision to send the parrots to a bird trader in Mozambique instead. The trader claims that the parrots had been stolen from him, although he cannot prove it. The birds were not individually marked with leg bands or microchips.
Please ask the State Attorney's Office to reverse its decision and allow these birds to fly free once again. These parrots belong in the wild!
Tell South African Authorities: Return 150 Smuggled Parrots to the Wild!
I was dismayed to learn that the 150 wild-caught African Grey parrots recently confiscated as they were being smuggled into South Africa will be relinquished to a trader in Mozambique.
The parrots were being cared for and rehabilitated by the World Parrot Trust pending their release in an area in their former range. The South African authorities are to be congratulated for the initial confiscation that sent a clear message to those involved in the illegal wildlife trade.
However, by granting the request of a trader who cannot actually prove the ownership or the legal acquisition of the parrots, the South African Government is no longer acting in the best legal, conservation and welfare interests of these birds and their species as a whole.
I urge you to review your decision and allow these parrots to be released as was originally proposed by the World Parrot Trust.