750 African Greys die on Durban flight

2011-01-13 22:52
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.

Disputed

In mid-December the parrots, which were then being kept in quarantine for 30 days at a state facility in Kempton Park, in accordance with legislation, became the focus of a long-standing dispute between breeders and in two urgent court applications.

The result was that Hendrik Matthews, a Roodepoort breeder who alleges the birds were intended for him to cover outstanding debt, had the parrots loaded on December 24 to be taken to a private quarantine station in Umhlanga.

On that day the quarantine station at Kempton Park closed until February 1 for cleaning and upgrading.

According to Michael Saltz, Matthews' lawyer, the birds were healthy when they were loaded at O R Tambo airport for the one hour flight on 1time to Durban. All the requirements for the transport of living cargo were met.

At King Shaka airport in Durban there was no movement to be seen in the crates when they were unloaded.

When the crates were taken to Express Air Services' store and opened, only 10 of the birds were still alive, and an hour later only one had survived, said Boyes.

Small dog survived

According to Anya Potgieter, spokesperson for 1time, the airline then decided it wouldn't transport more than four living animals per crate any longer, and exotic animals will only be transported if arrangements are made ahead of time.

According to The Witness she ruled out that the birds might have died from carbon dioxide inhalation, as the birds were travelling in a hold with an oxygen supply.

The airline denies that something could have happened on the plane to cause the tragedy.

A small dog travelling in the same cargo hold was perfectly healthy upon arrival.

Saltz, however, said parrots from the same group in two crates which were transported by another airline were healthy.

According to him there are indications that a lack of oxygen or dangerous gases could have caused the deaths of the birds.


 
Read more on:    1time  |  durban  |  air travel
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
394 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
Investment tips you need to know 2015-01-29 14:07

Ever wondered how to assess your future potential liability? Feroz Basa, Senior Portfolio Manager Old Mutual Investment Group, weighs in on all the investment tips you need to know. WATCH.

/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Games on Sale!

Save up to 60% on selected games. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Love is in the air and it is swirling around you in a romantic mist. This may be an idealistic yearning for that perfect love or...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.