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So a car is rolling down a hill, at the bottom of which is a cliff and a 400-metre sheer drop to rocks below, and inside the car is a guy enjoying a steaming mug of coffee. He is concerned that the car seems to be picking up speed and heading towards certain destruction. He has considered pulling up the handbrake, which would stop the car and prevent disaster. But that would also spill his coffee, which he does not want to do. And so he continues sipping and rolling down that hill.

CITES is that man sipping the coffee. They know that they need to pull up that handbrake and prevent certain disaster (grey parrot extinction in the wild). But by doing so they will spill some coffee (the many legal and illegal traders, politicians and breeding factory owners, who rely on the trade of wild-caught grey parrots for their livelihoods and, in some cases, their vast fortunes).

African grey parrots in flight in Odzala ©Dana Allen
African grey parrots in flight in Odzala ©Dana Allen

On the table at the upcoming CITES CoP17 conference in South Africa will be the upgrading of the status of grey parrots from Appendix 2 to Appendix 1, which will mean no further trade.

This is where you come in…

I am not convinced that members of CITES have the guts to do this, to pull up that handbrake. It’s complicated, apparently. They need encouragement, coercion perhaps.

By signing the petition below, put together by the respected World Parrot Trust, you will make your voice heard. Then send this post to your friends and ask them to do same.

If you don’t know much about the topic, read my article, Shades of Grey, or scan this startling summary:

Approximately 1.36 million wild-caught grey parrots have been exported legally since 1975, and when one factors in the 33-60% death rate during transport, the likely number of parrots actually trapped legally from the wild is probably more than 3 million birds. There is no accurate estimate for the number of illegal birds taken from the wild – but it would certainly add significantly to this offtake figure. When one considers that total wild populations have crashed to an estimated 560,000 to 12.7 million birds, this offtake figure is staggering.

captured-adult-grey-parrot-put-in-box
A captured adult grey parrot being placed in a transport box in the DRC ©TL2 Project
wild-caught-immature-grey-parrots-in-drc
Wild-caught immature grey parrots in the DRC ©TL2 Project

Message to CITES: Move the grey parrot Psittacus erithacus to Appendix I and end the trade of this globally threatened species for good.

Please sign your name, share with your friends, and help us to save thousands of wild parrots!

Make a difference and sign the petition here.

An African grey parrot in Odzala ©Dana Allen
An African grey parrot in Odzala ©Dana Allen
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Simon Espley

I am a proud African and honoured to be CEO of Africa Geographic. My travels in Africa are in search of wilderness, elusive birds and real people with interesting stories. I live in Hoedspruit, next to the Kruger National Park, with my wife Lizz and 2 Jack Russells. When not travelling or working I am usually on my mountain bike somewhere out there. I qualified as a chartered account, but found my calling sharing Africa's incredibleness with you. My motto is "Live for now, have fun, be good, tread lightly and respect others. And embrace change". Connect with me on LinkedIn