Trade ban on wild African greys
THE Convention on International Trade in Engangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) has voted for an international ban on trade in wild African grey parrots.
Dr Colman O’Criodain, of the World Wildlife Fund, said the ban would protect the bird from “rampant trapping and trading”, largely in the Congo basin, which was leading to a fall in population figures in the wild. The ban did not extend to accredited captive-bred breeders. “Fraud and corruption have enabled traffickers to vastly exceed current quotas and continue to harvest unsustainable numbers of African grey parrots from Congo’s forests to feed the illegal trade,” he said.
André Wienekus, whose family has run an African Grey parrot-breeding company for about 30 years, said when people bought these parrots they needed to check whether sellers had a parrot breeder’s certificate.
“Only buy from a place that can show you credentials and do your homework beforehand. I would be hesitant to buy off the internet.”
Wienekus said they were still working out the details of how the new Cites agreement would work.
Mark Anderson, head of Birdlife SA, said: “It is important to note that this listing results in a ban in the trade of wild-caught birds, but does not affect the trade in captive-bred individuals. Commercial breeders will be required to register with Cites (likely through the Department of Environmental Affairs) and be able to vouch for the fact that the birds in which they trade have provenance as captive-bred. Individual pet owners will not be affected. Should they wish to emigrate with their bird, they will be required to apply for a ‘pet passport’ which will enable them to transport their pet bird without undue problem,” he said.
eThekwini municipality spokeswoman Tozi Mthethwa said African greys were sought-after for their ability to mimic speech and sounds.
“They are also highly intelligent, having the same capacity as a 3-year-old child in some cases.”
An international agreement on wild African grey parrots seeks to protect the species. Only accredited captive breeders will now be able to sell the birds.