African grey parrot is an intelligent, friendly, and affable bird. Unfortunately, these characteristics that made it an ideal pet have also endangered its wild populations.
Wild populations of Gabon Gray are endangered. According to the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), this species is in a delicate situation due to its drastic numerical decline in recent decades.
This is mainly due to the fact that between 1994 and 2004, more than 21% of wild individuals were removed from their environment each year to be sold on the international market. Thus, the Gray of Gabon finds itself today in the highest category of the animal protection list and its trade has become illegal.
African grey parrot endangered
According to the IUCN Red List, more than 32,000 living species face a considerable risk of extinction. Of these, 14% are birds.
Beyond this aspect, organizations like SEO Birdlife point out that 28% of parrot species are in critical conservation status . 111 species among the 389 in the order Psittaciformes are exposed to a series of risks that cause their decline in terms of population.
Reports gathered by this association indicate that three types of parrots are at particular risk. These are the following:
- Those with small historical distribution, such as those living on islands.
- The largest parrots because they have great longevity but have few young and reach sexual maturity late.
- Parrots that live in wooded areas experience repeated episodes of deforestation.
As we can see, parrots are extremely intelligent birds that have great cognitive abilities. Unfortunately, this does not save them from human activity.
The African grey parrot ( Psittacus erithacus ) falls into the second category, as it is a medium to large bird. It weighs around 400 grams and is over 30 centimeters tall.
These parrots are monogamous and the egg incubation period is long and difficult, so there are not many young – about three eggs per female. Moreover, it is a slow-growing species because the Grays of Gabon do not reach their sexual maturity before 3-5 years.
Is it legal to own an African grey parrot
As we said before, from 1994 to 2003, exploitation of the wild populations of this species took place and it is calculated that more than 359,000 animals were sold after being hunted and captured.
This, at the level of statistical data, translates into an annual loss of 21% of representatives of wild populations. Furthermore, the mortality rate of captured animals was enormous – more than 60% of these parrots died before reaching the international market.
This is why the International Union for Conservation of Nature has cataloged the African Gray as an “endangered” species. The combined effects of stealth capture, hunting for their properties in traditional medicine, and habitat loss are gradually ending this species.
The African Gray is the second most captured psittacine. And this, from a historical point of view, for human ends.
Gray of Gabon: immediate action is needed
It is for all these reasons that in 2016, the member countries of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) signed an agreement prohibiting the acquisition of Gabon Grays caught in the wild. Despite all this, various newspapers reported that the illegal trade in this species has not slowed down at all.
Wild-caught specimens can still be found in their country of origin at exorbitant prices, such as around $2,000 per animal. This does not mean that having a Gabon Gray as a pet is illegal.
It is theoretically possible to have one when you present clear documents provided by an official body that certifies that the animal was raised in captivity. Legislation varies by country. Therefore, before acquiring an exotic animal, it is advisable to inquire about legal issues with a professional.
Gray of Gabon: a civic responsibility
Several professionals already say it: “without demand, there is no supply”. It is our duty, as owners of animals, to make sure of their legal origin. This way we avoid problems like the ones we have mentioned here.
The regulatory measures established at the international level for the conservation of the African Gray are intended to slow down its population decline. But as long as illegal capture continues to take place, we cannot guarantee the survival of this species in the wild.