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 all efforts to rescue, rehabilitate and release confiscated birds back to the wild