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Petitioning CITES Secretariat

Urgent Petition: Tell CITES to suspend trade in African Grey Parrots!


EDITOR'S NOTE: We have extended the petition deadline to collect as many signatures as possible, and continue sending CITES a strong message.


Next week in Switzerland (July 23-27, 2012), a small gathering of people who decide how wildlife can and can't be traded around the world (the CITES Standing Committee) will decide on the fate of thousands of wild African Grey Parrots.

Specifically, Congo - one of the largest exporters of these birds - is hoping to continue the practice of legally capturing these birds to sell to Asia and the Middle East. Their quota of 5,000 birds is regularly exceeded. And in Cameroon, despite a zero export quota for this species, a total of over 5,000 birds were exported in the last four years for which data is available. So, this decision next week will decide the fate of thousands of African Grey Parrots traded … every year.

Now is our chance to urge CITES to protect this Globally Threatened Species from such unsustainable pressures. If we can get CITES to adopt a trade suspension from these two countries, we'll not only spare thousands of birds, we will help turn the tide on the trade in wild parrots for good.

Please join us, sign your name, get all your friends to do the same, and help us save thousands of wild parrots today!

Letter to
CITES Secretariat
Mr. John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General
CITES Secretariat
International Environment House
11 Chemin des Anémones
CH-1219 Châtelaine, Geneva

Dear Mr. Scanlon,

We the undersigned respectfully request that the CITES Secretariat recommend to the CITES Standing Committee to suspend all trade in African Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus) from the countries of Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This species has recently been designated a Globally Threatened Species on the IUCN's Red List chiefly as a result of declines caused by capture for the pet trade. Moreover, violations of the CITES procedures and quotas have been clearly documented in both countries in recent years, providing a clear indicator of the likelihood of future lack of compliance. Suspensions of trade in this species with both countries are warranted under the CITES Review of Significant Trade as these countries have failed to implement the recommendations of the CITES Animals Committee.

The export of Grey Parrots from DR Congo is of special concern. For over a decade the export quotas have been consistently exceeded. The UNEP-WCMC data for the years 2005-2010 shows that quotas were exceeded by more than 50% in 2005, 2008, and 2009; in 2009 the quota was exceeded by more than 100%. This trend has been ongoing since 1995.

For Cameroon, as you know a zero export quota was established by the CITES Review of Significant Trade beginning in 2007. In reality, Cameroon went on to allow the export of 4,715 grey parrots in 2007, 708 birds in 2008, 10 birds in 2009, and one shipment of 300 wild-caught individuals in 2010 (data from WCMC).

Whilst these exports from Cameroon were a lamentable violation of the zero export quota, the clarity of that zero quota created a welcome change in enforcement policies there. Since 2007, the Cameroon enforcement authorities have confiscated thousands of illegally trapped birds. Their rehabilitation and release has led to new populations of Grey Parrots in parts of their former range. These confiscations underscore the effectiveness of clear and unambiguous wildlife policies at the national and international level, they empower wildlife enforcement authorities to take swift and effective action, and they strongly suggest that trade suspensions will lead to similarly productive outcomes in both Cameroon and DR Congo.

In sum, we feel that such suspensions will be a crucial step toward the recovery of this Threatened species and an appropriate and much-needed response to this significant and on-going threat to the African Grey Parrot’s survival in the wild.


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