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Trade patterns of wild African Grey parrots

By David Waugh, Loro Parque Fundación

In recent decades, a high level of capture and legal trade in wild African Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus) has occurred. A major exporting country has been Cameroon, with official statistics from 1981 to 2005 showing that it exported 367,166 individuals, with a yearly average of 15,299. From 1990 to 1996, it exported 48% of the African Grey Parrots of all countries in Africa. From 1993 to 2006, the official CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora) annual export quota for this species from Cameroon had remained 12,000.

The high volume of trade and consistent exceeding of the quota led to concern over the impact on wild populations, and the Animals Committee of CITES called for scientific-based field surveys of wild populations, and the development of National and Regional Management Plans before resuming any trade, in line with its recommendation to institute a moratorium on exports of P. erithacus from Cameroon for two years from January 2007. Restrictive measures were also recommended for certain other exporting countries within the natural geographical range of the species.

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