Where Have All the Parrots Gone?
African Grey Parrots are one of the most popular bird companions in the world, largely due to their intelligence and their ability to mimic human language. However, with popularity comes a huge supply demand and a high demand for wild animals means that the animal trade will go to great lengths at the expense of individuals and their species to fill that demand.
Nigel Collar of BirdLife International, has co-authored a paper which states that since 1992, African Grey Parrots have decreased by 90 to 99 percent in Ghana. While one of the reasons for the decrease is due to habitat loss, an even more glaring reason is the animal trade. Staggeringly, “There have been 800,000 legal recorded imports of the parrots from range countries since 1980. But this figure doesn’t account for the total number of parrots taken from forests.” These numbers are from legal recorded imports, so we can only imagine how many imported parrots have been kept off the books.
Due to the sensitivity of the parrots, wild African Grey Parrots “are particularly susceptible to death in captivity, and it’s been estimated that 45 to 65 percent of greys perish before reaching export markets.” This estimate is truly heart breaking, but we wonder, is there any hope for the future?
The good news is that most countries have already implemented bans. Rowan Martin, Director of the World Parrot Trust has said in hope, “If no country is permitted to trade wild birds of this species, it will be the most important action that can be implemented to help save the species in the wild. Illegal trade will persist, but it’s likely that the scale will be much reduced.”
In the wild African Grey Parrots can live up to 65 years, are incredibly social and fly miles on a daily basis. Having a parrot as an animal companion can mean that you will be living with an animal who may likely outlive you, jeopardizing the bird’s future. Sadly, they will also be cut off from other parrots (unless you oversee a flock) and will be unable to fly the distances that they are so freely able to in the wild.
Let’s keep parrots where they belong-as wild animals living out their respective lives on their own terms!
For more information on what has been happening to African Grey Parrots, read on here.