Friday, January 14, 2011

750 African Greys Die on Durban Flight

by Dries Liebenberg

Durban - More than 750 African Grey parrots worth about R2m died on a flight from Johannesburg to Durban.

The news has caused shock waves among conservationists, bird breeders and those involved in the aviation industry. The parrots died on December 24 on a flight operated by 1time.

Dr Steve Boyes, director of the organisation World Parrot Trust Africa, said steps should be taken to ensure that something like this never happens again.

The parrots were part of an order of 1 650 adult African Greys which were caught in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to be sold to South African breeders.

Ben Moodie, a well-respected Boksburg lawyer, alleges the birds were to be imported for his business Iceland Industrial Projects. He said he was only informed of the birds' fate on December 29.

"At the OR Tambo quarantine the birds were fine and I was informed that on arrival at King Shaka they were dead. I can understand a few casualties along the route, it happens. (But) this doesn't gel and I can only satisfy myself if they show me the carcasses," a distraught Moodie told The Witness.

Altogether 800 of these parrots were imported to South Africa in November. A further 850 are still being held in the DRC, ready to be brought to South Africa.

Read the rest here.

Comment: Why is this trade allowed anymore?  Who needs a few thousand African Grey parrots from the DRC?  And who in the DRC, if anyone, is overseeing this massive capture of wild birds and their importation to South Africa?

This is a tragic example of the ruthless and greedy animal trade in South Africa.  It should be outlawed and breeders should step up and breed birds in captivity and leave the rest to live as nature intended.

Poachers have already killed three Rhino in the 14 days of 2011.  There needs to be greater and stricter oversight of the manner that wild animals are administered in South Africa and the continent.

The airline is at fault too.  They should have known the dangers of transporting birds in this manner.

Sad news no doubt.

An aside: I know someone who has an African Grey in a cage in their kitchen for the last two decades or so.  The poor bird never leaves his cage.  On occasion they put him outside to see at least the backyard of their house.

What kind of condition is that for an African Grey?  These are highly social birds that build life-long companionships and live for very long (close to thirty years).

Folks should think before buying birds like the African Grey.  Hell they should think before they take on cats or dogs or budgies for that matter.

If you don't have time to brush your teeth before you leave for work everyday you sure as hell do not need a pet of any kind just wasting its life away.

Onward! to animal rights.

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