A Discussion on the Illegal African Grey Parrot Trade

October 13, 2016
American Veterinarian Editorial Staff

M. Scott Echols, DVM, ABVP, owner of Echols Veterinary Services, discusses the illegal African Grey parrot trade.

M. Scott Echols, DVM, ABVP, owner of Echols Veterinary Services, discusses the illegal African Grey parrot trade.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“There’s been a major landmark decision with Cites and they just recently provided the highest level of importance to African Grey parrots, which essentially limits or eliminates international trade. It makes it illegal, which is going to be very helpful. It doesn’t mean that international trade will stop or that the central African populations of Grey parrots will stop leaving the continent; however, it is a very big step and it at least provides some protection for Grey parrots in the wild.

As far as what people can do in an effort to help with the problem of international trade and understanding wild animal status, I think we really have to look at conservation groups, not just for Grey parrots, but for all different species. The information gained by studying one type of parrot we [will] use on all sorts of different animals and of course, parrots as well.

The World Parrot Trust is one group that is heavily involved in both the Grey parrots in the wild and their trade issues, [and] also other parrots. There are quite a few other organizations that actively study parrots in the wild. What we can do is we can support those groups. That means volunteering, working for those organizations, providing financial donations to those organizations, and also providing information. If we see birds that we feel are smuggled or might be endangered, we can report those to the authorities and try to provide the best care for those animals.

Of course veterinarians work all over the world—we are not just in private practice, we are sometimes in the field and working in different situations. Veterinarians may be working in foreign countries where they see birds still being brought in illegally and the population of people working with those birds can be our eyes and ears for the animals of the wild and can also help those researching the animals.”