On October 1st, in a secret ballot, countries from across the world voted 95 – 35 at CITES CoP17 to adopt an international ban on trade in wild African Grey Parrots – one of the world’s best known and most highly coveted bird species because of its extraordinary ability to learn and imitate human speech. The committee agreed to uplist the species to Appendix I.
In response, WWF issued the following statement from Dr. Colman O Criodain, WWF Global Wildlife Policy Manager:
“A total ban on international commercial trade in wild African grey parrots is a huge step forward and will help to protect this extraordinary species from the rampant trapping and trading that has contributed to population collapses and local extinctions across Africa in recent decades.
“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. Banning the trade will make it easier for law enforcement agencies to crack down on the poachers and smugglers, and give the remaining wild populations some much-needed breathing space.
“Current regulations have singularly failed to halt the over-exploitation of the African grey, which is being trapped and traded towards extinction in its last major bastion in the Congo basin: a total trade ban was absolutely essential. But it will not be enough on its own, existing illegal networks will continue to plunder parrots from Central Africa’s forests until countries target the traffickers running the show.”
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