On Christmas Eve 2010, 730 wild-caught African grey parrots died on a commercial flight between Johannesburg and Durban in South Africa. Captured in nets and stuffed into tiny crates, the terrified birds were deprived of food and water and forced to stand in their own waste. The parrots were part of an order of 1,650 adult African grey parrots caught in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to be sold to South African breeders.
South Africa has become an important hub for the international trade in wild-caught birds. Traders are making huge profits and taking advantage of government officials in unstable countries such as the DRC. Parrots caught in the wild and imported to South Africa (and subsequently exported to other countries) are frequently used as breeders in bird mills; some are exported from South Africa to the Far and Middle East as “pets.” The initial shock of losing their freedom and being confined to a cage can kill 10 to 20 percent of wild-caught birds. Of those who survive capture, many will die of starvation, dehydration, suffocation or disease before reaching their final destination. Those who survive are doomed to a life deprived of flight and freedom.
The trade in these beautiful, intelligent wild parrots must stop! The world must learn that these parrots are more beautiful in the wild.
Please sign our petition to the South African government to immediately halt all future DRC exports of wild-caught African grey parrots and then look at ways of ending all South African trade of wild-caught birds and animals.
- CITES Official & Deputy Director, Dept. of Environment
As a concerned global citizen alarmed by the trade in wild-caught birds and the recent deaths of more than 700 African grey parrots, I implore the Republic of South Africa to implement an immediate ban on the commercial trade of all wild birds.
South Africa plays a central role in the rampant legal and illegal trade in wild birds and has become a major hub for African grey parrots. This trade threatens the survival of many species in the wild and causes immense suffering to thousands of captured animals.
The initial shock of losing their freedom and being confined to a cage can kill 10 to 20 percent of wild-caught birds. Of those who survive capture, many will die of starvation, dehydration, suffocation or disease before reaching their final destination. Further, upon reaching their destination alive, they will be confined to a life deprived of flight and freedom. In addition to conservation and animal welfare concerns, this trade has the potential to introduce parasites and diseases that may be transmitted to people, wildlife and domestic livestock.
Again, I urge the Republic of South Africa to set a responsible example for other nations by immediately halting all future import of wild-caught African grey parrots from the Democratic Republic of Congo and to work toward a complete ban on all trade of wild-caught birds and other animals in South Africa.
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