The cosy illusion that CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, is a conservation body should finally have been disproved once and for all following the recent decision to continue to allow the export of Grey Parrots from West Africa, despite evidence that the species is disappearing fast in the wild and knowledge of the huge numbers already sloshing around the ‘pet trade’. Allowing a ‘quota’ of exports of wild-caught parrots takes no consideration of the deaths of birds during trapping, the destruction of nesting sites to reach chicks, and the cruel conditions frightened birds are kept in before, during and after transport to the recipient traders.
The decision made by CITES in the face of sound advice proves once again that wildlife is thought of as little more than a commodity, some sort living economic tool used to try to lever impoverished local communities out of poverty, and something to be bought, swopped, and traded across the globe. We are rapidly stripping the planet of its biodiversity so perhaps this decision should merely be seen as ‘typical’ of what everyone else is doing, but that’s hardly an excuse for not protecting an intelligent and wonderful species from exploitation and life in a cage…
Standing Committee approves annual export of 3,000 Greys from Cameroon
Despite the best efforts of the World Parrot Trust and the over 41,000 signatories who supported the petition against the trade in Grey parrots in Cameroon and Congo, CITES’ ruling yesterday ultimately failed to protect the birds from unsustainable trade, ignoring sound science, global public opinion, and the terms of their own Convention.
Rather than ruling to protect protect these Globally Threatened Species, they instead chose to reopen trade from Cameroon, allowing 3,000 birds a year to now be legally exported from that country. As a result 6,000 birds will be taken from the wild as roughly 50% of these birds die between trapping and export. CITES also failed to suspend trade from the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is despite Congo’s repeatedly exceeding their annual quota of 5,000 birds.
But we’ll continue the fight!
The wild bird trade has been devastating to Grey and Timneh parrots – with massive population declines taking place in nearly every country where they are found. But despite today’s setback, the trends are overwhelmingly positive: ten years back, there were seven countries exporting these birds, today there are only two. At that time, over 30,000 birds were being legally exported each year, today the combined quota is limited to 8,000 birds – a decline of over 70% in one decade.
In the coming months WPT will redouble our efforts by:
• Pushing to ensure that both species – Grey and Timneh parrots – are uplisted to Appendix I (meaning no commercial trade allowed)
• Helping local governments to crack down on trade
• Supporting efforts to rescue, rehabilitate and release confiscated birds back to the wild
We need YOUR help!
Because of this ruling, now it is more important than ever to keep up the fight to save African Grey parrots. You can help:
Our time is short, the need is great, but with your support we can end the trade for good
To donate to the World Parrot Trust please go to: http://www.razoo.com/story/African-Grey-Parrot-Project