Clampdown need on Grey Parrot trade
The Animals Committee of CITES, the convention governing international trade in species, has recommended up to a two-year ban from January 2007 on exports of African Grey Parrots Psittacus erithacus from four West African countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea), where the distinctive (sub)species timneh is found, and in Cameroon, where the more widespread (sub)species erithacus occurs. For a further two countries— Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo—the Committee has recommended that quotas should be halved to 4,000 and 5,000 birds respectively.
“There is ample evidence Grey Parrot numbers in the wild are declining through unsustainable exploitation." —Dr Hazell Shokellu Thompson , Head of BirdLife’s Africa Division
The Animals Committee, which met in Lima, Peru, in July 2006, also called for scientific-based field surveys of wild populations, and the development of National and Regional Management Plans before resuming any trade. The plans will need to tackle illegal trade in Grey Parrots and establish ways to prevent export quotas being exceeded.
“BirdLife welcomes the export bans and quota reductions,” said Dr Hazell Shokellu Thompson, Head of BirdLife’s Africa Division. “There is ample evidence Grey Parrot numbers in the wild are declining through unsustainable exploitation. BirdLife Partners across Africa will assist national governments wherever possible with parrot surveys and monitoring so that scientifically justified decisions can be taken about the levels of sustainable trade permissible.”
Concerns over the high volume of trade prompted the Animals Committee to include the Grey Parrot in its most recent ‘Significant Trade Review’, the work subsequently being contracted to IUCN by the CITES Secretariat, with BirdLife International and TRAFFIC involved in the review. The results show that unsustainable numbers of birds are being traded, the majority of them destined for Europe. Earlier, BirdLife African Partners at their annual Partnership meeting (CAP) had agreed to collaborate on improving the conservation status of the Grey Parrot.
Wildlife trade is big business. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) aims to protect species from the detrimental effects of international trade by establishing an international legal framework for preventing or controlling trade.
For further information download:
BirdLife International's review of the status of the African Grey Parrot and proposals to CITES for its conservation (PDF)