Dead parrots - 1time 'not to blame'

2011-01-14 22:10

Johannesburg - It was not the airline's fault that over 700 African Grey parrots from the Democratic Republic of Congo had died on a flight to Durban, 1time Airline said on Friday.

"1time Airline would like to make it clear that the suspected cause of death stated as being by inhalation of noxious gases or lack of oxygen, is a clear indication that the airline is not responsible for their demise," the airline said in a statement.

The hold in which the birds and a puppy were transported, was pressurised and ventilated with the exact same air as the cabin, it said.

"Not only were our passengers all in perfect condition, but the puppy was delivered safely and without harm and we are adamant that there have been undisclosed events leading to the transportation that need to be investigated."

1time said it was not possible to have noxious gas exposure in hold 1.

The airline company said it was committed to get to the bottom of what caused the death of the consignment of birds, and was co-operating closely with experts at the World Parrot Trust in this regard.

"Understanding what happened is important to the airline and its people, as something like this should never happen again.

"We have put into place a policy to ensure that, in future, no wild animal is transported without prior arrangement or management intervention and we no longer transport livestock en-masse by restricting each consignment to a maximum of four animals," said 1time's chief executive officer Rodney James.

However, James said everyone at 1time was saddened by the loss of the birds.

"At no time were our staff given information about the origin or species of the birds and we can assure all that had we known these were adult wild African Grey birds, we would have declined.

"It was a cargo consignment that was managed by Express Air Services and a consignment over which we had no need to demand more information, other than it was 500kg of live birds. The paperwork was all in order and acceptable."

Autopsy results were still expected for the 760 African Grey parrots in the midst of an ownership dispute, bird dealer Hennie Matthews said on Friday.

"Autopsies have been done," said Matthews, who launched an urgent application to get the 760 birds from another dealer Gideon Fourie, in lieu of money he claimed Fourie owes him.

But another dealer, Ben Moodie, claimed the birds were actually his, not Fourie's, and wanted them back.

The High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Pretoria, received Matthews' urgent application in December and ordered that as the matter was not urgent, a full hearing would be held in January.

In the meantime, it also ordered that Matthews become the custodian of the birds, and that he deposit a R2m guarantee with Moodie's lawyers to cover their value.

  • AquaticApe - 2011-01-14 22:47

    "It was a cargo consignment that was managed by Express Air Services and a consignment over which we had no need to demand more information, other than it was 500kg of live birds. The paperwork was all in order and acceptable." Does that mean that as long as "the paperwork was in order" anything could have been in the crate? Perhaps a human being or two or maybe a bomb? Surely LIVE cargo should be checked for many reasons before handling.

      braams - 2011-01-14 23:23

      Adding on to your argument, this should also be of concern: "The hold in which the birds and a puppy were transported, was pressurised and ventilated with the exact same air as the cabin, it said." So the same air went to the cargo and the cabin. Surely, for the safety of the passengers, management should know what the passengers are sharing the air with...

      themantshepo - 2011-01-14 23:35

      Don't worry people Supreme Chicken has issued a statement indicating that they will purchase the dead birds, rework them and feed them to the poor.

      themantshepo - 2011-01-14 23:49

      Braam, please go and read how an aeroplane's ventilation system works and then comment again. You obviously have no clue. LOL!!!

      moiraine - 2011-01-15 07:50

      @shepo - the supreme chicken comment - if it was meant to be ironic and make me laugh it did. If it was meant to be real, that is just sick.

      braams - 2011-01-15 13:50

      @themantshepo: The outer skin of the aircraft is the pressurisation vessel, bleed air is taken from the turbofans and the ECS would then send it through packs. yada-yada-yada... It is really not that difficult a concept to grasp. What you didn't grast is that I quoted the article and was sarcastic. The article reads: "exact same air". That means, exact same air, which implies the air in the cabin and the air in the cargo hold is the "exact same air". Remarks like: "You obviously have no clue" should be reserved for people who obviously have no clue... Next time, before you react to a comment, make sure you understand the comment and the context in which it was made and try not to be so derogatory in your comment. It shows an air of perceived superiority which nobody appreciates. Oh, and don't tell me you think that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. Read the entire Oscar Wilde quote :-)

  • Dirk - 2011-01-14 22:55

    How can someone be allowed to import 1500 African Grey parrots from the DRC of all places. The fact that it is legal does not make it ethical. If we wait on laws in African countries to protect animals, we will a long time. Anyone who has ever been to these countries will know that these people will do anything to earn a couple of rand or the equivelant. If we don't care, who will? Why remove a beautiful bird from its natural habitat to put it in a cage - for the amusement of some fool and for some idiot to make money out of. It just doesnt make sense. Leave the birds in the wild!

      themantshepo - 2011-01-14 23:38

      Hey Dirk, the report says 760 birds, not 1500. It would seem you were lacking oxygen or inhaling poisinous gases too when you read the report. LOL!

      Grant - 2011-01-15 01:57

      @themanyshepo. You are the one lacking oxygen to the brain and should read all reports on a subject before (once again)making an arse of yourself. The 750 are part of the total of 1650 imported from the DRC. Go back and read Dirk's post again and realise he is referring to the importation of these birds, not just the 760 that have tragically died. Incidently I support Dirk 100% on his standpoint. - 2011-01-15 07:30

      @the mantshepo you are really the biggest fool on this site. Every comment you make is foolish and argumentative. Wanker!

      So What? - 2011-01-15 10:37

      Dirk, the sad thing is many more die or have died of the 1500 odd imported before they even leave the Congo. Not sure what the ratio is at the moment, but one can be sure a whole lot died of those intially caught in the wild.Seem to reall that between something like 40% to about 65% of the birds caught die due to various causes. If that is the case and working on about 50% mortality then around an additional 750 birds had to be caught for this consignment to reach SA. What I cannot understand, is that the African grey is a CITES Apendix II bird and thus the trade in wild caught birds is strictly controlled, in fact I think only cage bred birds may be exported, and seem to recall a cap was placed on around 4000 birds per annum that could be exported. One then wonders how it is possible that on shipment makes up around one third of the total number that can be exported. Somewhere something does not add up. Stress is a major factor with wild caught birds. And crowded as seems the case might have increased this. Oh Tshepo get a life - read the articles - note plural - before going off half cocked.

  • Denise - 2011-01-14 23:15

    500kg of live birds.... surely someone could have done the maths to know that is many many birds? All stuck in a small area that caters for 4 animals? Their policy has ALWAYS been 4 animals, so why accept such a large consignment...they are damn lucky the puppy didn't die as well.

      themantshepo - 2011-01-14 23:43

      Because Denise, the space was for four animals - elephants. Do the maths, that is a lot of space. I don't see anything wrong with packing 760 birds into an area where four elephants would fit...and if the puppy died what would have happened then?? LOL!!!

      david.coetzee1 - 2011-01-15 08:06

      themantshepo you are really stupid. 4 elephants? Have you ever seen a plane. The local flights are small aircraft not C130's. Last time I asked 1time to fly my pet elephants from Durban to JHB they would only take 1 in business I had to load them in my Venter trailer and hook it up to my Bantam bakkie for the trip.

      Bryan - 2011-01-15 12:18

      HaHaHa David, bet you Tshepo would believe your story. The idiot of a man-tshepo.

  • Macho Mike - 2011-01-14 23:53

    1time these birds were all alive, 1time!

      TDJ - 2011-01-15 00:37

      lol - they fly 1time. No more!

      mollie.kruger - 2011-01-15 06:46

      And your point is? The people getting on the World Trade Centre / Pentagon terrorist planes were also all alive when they got on the planes. Hoe nou?

      Macho Mike - 2011-01-15 14:26

      Molie.kruger - Look up the definition of Satire - dis hoe!

  • k1dbl4ck - 2011-01-15 02:16

    i think im going to puke all over my computer. this is EXACTLY whats wrong with this world.

  • - 2011-01-15 05:18

    Now let the blame game begin and in doing so the real truth will be covered up :(

  • Karin - 2011-01-15 05:36

    This is so sad, removing wild birds out of their natural habitat must be banned. Karin

  • martinmenge - 2011-01-15 05:57

    Were canneries not used to check air quality in mines? Do birds not die before mammals? Surely a puppy has much stronger lungs than birds.

      martinmenge - 2011-01-15 05:59

      oh, and 1time's website also sucks. It uses archaic technology that makes it unusable with tablet computers

  • FatBoySlim - 2011-01-15 06:11

    Based on 1Time's historic delays, they probably died of boredom waiting

      Vaal Donkie - 2011-01-25 20:43


  • ebdg3000 - 2011-01-15 06:23

    @themantshepo - yeah, you'd think if people were going to reveal a thought or question in a public domain, that they would either do some research first, or be a little more deferential in their choice of words and tone ... Aptly named aquatic ape: Express Air Services does exactly that. All airlines have a contracted baggage/freight handling agent. And braams, the air supplied is the same - it is not shared.

  • ebdg3000 - 2011-01-15 06:27

    Yes, it gets you thinking, doesn't it - like the next time I go and visit somebody and they've got an African Grey, or some other bird in a cage, I'll be wondering how this poor bird uplifts the quality of their lives, just what kind of people they actually are ...

      Vaal Donkie - 2011-01-25 20:47

      I treat my two parrots like royalty. Lots of treats, toys and attention each day. And loving discipline. In return I get birds who don't want to step down off my hand or shoulder because they want to be with me as long as possible. It's awesome. Only people who have children can claim to have a greater uplifting experience.

  • Mike - 2011-01-15 06:29

    IMPORT WILD BIRDS ???? Who in their correct mind would buy birds from Congo to allow the locals to get money to do more TRAPPING of wild animals!!

      Jacques - 2011-01-15 07:19


      Zinki - 2011-01-15 07:28

      You actually don't want to know how these birds are trapped and caught. It's terribly cruel.

      Vaal Donkie - 2011-01-25 20:49

      I only buy from registered breeders.

  • goyougoodthing - 2011-01-15 06:43

    1Time doesn't take responsibility for anything, why start now. Heck they don't even respond to their OWN WEBSITE complaints so good luck.

  • Chappie - 2011-01-15 06:51

    We should stop caging birds. I cannot see what pleasure anyone can have out of watching something that can fly being caged. They should be flying in forests.

      Roanokee - 2011-01-15 07:24

      Ah well Chappie, interesting thought. You and I should be walking in the wild, naked, trying to hunt down a Springbok with a wooden spear while already on the menu for a lion. Instead we are tapping away at computer keyboards. Ask the bird what he would prefer. The cage with food, water and 5-star pampering, or being bottom of the food chain in the wild.

      Zinki - 2011-01-15 07:29

      I totally agree. It's cruel to deny a bird it's ability to fly.

      gscoetzee - 2011-01-15 07:31

      The Iata regulations clearly states that no more than FOUR birds should be transported in boxes which must be IATA approved each with their own perch. These birds were transported 46 to a crate 1m x1m. Terrible, imagine the conditions inside! If the documents were all in order, then 1time clearly has no clue of what is required! Why should anybody use an airline that does not comply with the IATA regulations? They should be closed down or, at the very least, prosecuted! Gerda Coetzee

      Dirk - 2011-01-15 09:56

      @ Roanakee - If those are your priorities in life (to be able to sit in a cage while you receive 5 star pampering), it doesn't mean you can apply it to other living creatures. The food chain in the DRC is a very short chain. By far the biggest threat to any bird or animal is man.

      Vaal Donkie - 2011-01-25 20:51

      It's not a bad argument, but my birds are both third generation domesticated eclectus. they wouldn't know the first thing about surviving in the wild because their parents wouldn't know how to teach them. Plus, they aren't indigenous to Africa and would either die or wreak havoc on the ecosystem.

  • Agent - 2011-01-15 07:17

    By the looks of it this man is stipping the wild life and creating a market for the locals in the Congo to stip the country of the wild birds for financial gain, soon also there nothing will be left, surely there are enough breeders in SA.

      Zinki - 2011-01-15 07:30

      Where are the animal rights groups like WWF, PETA and even the SPCA in this saga? They seem to be silent...

      Tc - 2011-01-15 07:47

      Zinki, those organisations in the NSA, particularly the SPCA, have become irrelavant, lame ducks, sold-out to politically correctness, incapable of performing their roles in the NSA.

  • kenalien - 2011-01-15 07:18

    Maybe it's a good time for OneTime to come out with a statement that they will refuse to carry this kind of cargo for ethical reasons! Until then I will never fly with them!! Let the sad fate of those creatures be a call to action!

      Zinki - 2011-01-15 07:31

      They died a cruel death but at least they won't have to sit in someone's cage and get ogled by some idiots all their miserable lives. Anyone in Durban should NOT buy African greys...

      Tc - 2011-01-15 07:51

      Kenalien, I will gladly fly 1Time. I often fly British Airways. At least I get welcomed on board and served in My Language. That is why I have been refusing for years to fly SAA. Fortunately we still have choices.

  • gscoetzee - 2011-01-15 07:34

    The Iata regulations clearly states that no more than FOUR birds should be transported in boxes which must be IATA approved each with their own perch. These birds were transported 46 to a crate 1m x1m. Terrible, imagine the conditions inside! If the documents were all in order, then 1time clearly has no clue of what is required! Why should anybody use an airline that does not comply with the IATA regulations? They should be closed down or, at the very least, prosecuted!

  • Tc - 2011-01-15 07:42

    Now. Please, does anybody really care about the 700 parrots or even the couple of rhino been being killed? 3500 farmers are killed in the NSA and 1500 people are murdered per month in the NSA, and nobody seems to care about that!

      kareno - 2011-01-15 08:21

      It is very sad what happened to the rhinos & parrots, but I must say I agree with you Tc!

      k1dbl4ck - 2011-01-15 22:39

      the difference is humans created the situation. the birds did not.

      Vaal Donkie - 2011-01-25 20:52

      I care about that. I am also about a million times more vocal about it than the plight of these parrots, but I can multi-task. Both problems stem from the same root cause after all.

  • BlackSwan - 2011-01-15 07:51

    Oxford dictionary: "Responsible - liable to be called to account, answerable" It seems that the meaning of the word has been lost in the NSA - If 1 Time is not responsible - who is? THEY transported the birds, so, no matter what the reason for the deaths - they are answerable... Wish the ANC will get this into their heads as well.

  • E1b0t - 2011-01-15 08:04

    Let this be a lesson to the people bringing these birds in and took them away from their natural habitat! These people are helping to take away an animal out of it's environment, soon they will be endangered... Why not support the local breeders, there are lots of them around?? This is clearly a sign from nature.

  • coolwaynie - 2011-01-15 08:19

    Of course it's not the airline's fault. In South Africa everyone is taught that denial is the answer to everything. We're a nation of thieves, murderers and liars. Fact.

  • jaycee - 2011-01-15 08:52

    It seems far too easy to import live animals. Who checks that these animals do not carry contagious diseases?

      Vaal Donkie - 2011-01-25 20:53

      Try importing an animal into New Zealand.

  • Susan_Kanada - 2011-01-15 09:52

    So did any birds survive the flight? It doesn't seem so, or surely the airline would have mentioned it. In the event that "noxious gases" or "lack of oxygen" is to blame after all, despite the airline's denials that that's the cause, then it's obvious the airline is to blame. Has anyone ever transported African grey parrots in this manner successfully? The only other cause I can think of is that the stress of the flight played a role. The airline's denial that they even knew what kind of birds it was is both laughable and cause for deep concern. Who the heck doesn't know what a parrot looks like. For all we know they could have been smuggling drugs in/with these birds and the airline simply couldn't be bothered to check!

  • Makisaki - 2011-01-15 11:25

    So what the heck? Some bloke in the Congo had the initiative to catch the birds, sell them for a pittance to a broker, who again sold them to a importer. This guy paid a company to transport them to a reseller. Pure chain of economics. Now the death of the birds keep a reporter busy, lawyers in court and several people occupied with comments. Pure job creation. Now we just have to find out will they be buried or incinerated to know the next chain of events.

  • bc20032003 - 2011-01-15 12:49

    1Time saw no need to ask for further information once they saw a label for 500kg of live birds!! I have no doubt they knew exactly what they were transporting but hey as long as they made money from it they couldn't care less. Their new innocent and concerned attitude is nauseating.

  • bc20032003 - 2011-01-15 12:50

    1Time saw no need to ask for further information once they saw a label for 500kg of live birds!! I have no doubt they knew exactly what they were transporting but hey as long as they made money from it they couldn't care less. Their new "innocent and concerned" attitude is nauseating.

  • StJohn - 2011-01-15 14:31

    really crappy excuse for transporting live wild animals! If EVERYONE would refuse to transport them - this "industry" would not be as lucrative as it is. Hopefully 1Time (and other SA airlines) will now know better... we can only hope.

  • jkoorts - 2011-01-15 15:54

    shrien dewani killed them for insurance money

      jkoorts - 2011-01-15 15:56

      also shipping 700 birds is the fastest way in getting air miles onto your account.

  • Kristi10 - 2011-01-15 16:25

    760 Parrots were taken out of their natural habitat so that a few humans can make some money. The bird dealers should be put in small cages for the rest of their lives.

  • Brieuse - 2011-01-15 19:20

    Something feels so wrong about capturing hundreds of parrots. I wonder how long the DRC's wild parrot population will last?

  • Heks - 2011-01-15 21:23

    This is utter nonsense. Over 700 birds die. Unacceptable!!!! We need to find out fast why!

  • Blip - 2011-01-15 21:33

    I spray fly-spray in my room and feel no ill effects, even if the flies die. I'm bigger than a fly, see? Puppies are bigger than parrots, so when a puppy survives it doesn't mean the air wasn't toxic enough to kill a parrot. The parrots were alive when loaded on the plane and dead when it landed. Obviously the conditions in the plane killed them. No point even disputing this.

  • Helen - 2011-01-15 21:50

    Hmmm...I must admit that I didn't pay that much attention to this story until I flew down from Jhb to Cpt today on 1Time. It was an 11am flight and trust me, I never sleep during the day and moreover, never on flights, regardless how long they are. Point being - I found myself getting really sleepy 5 minutes into the flight and must have slept for about 20 mins or so...and I woke up to find that almost every single other passenger was fast asleep as well!! THERE IS SOMETHING SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH THE AIR ON THIS AIRLINE!!!!! My guess would be lack of O2... Either way - awful flight, but only because of the air factor (which was a biggie!!) - their service et al was fantastic, as was the quality of the flight itself i.e. landing etc. and they were as courteous, helpful and friendly as ever - do however hope that they get the air situation sorted out asap so that we don't die in our sleep aboard!!! ;-) ;-)

  • Vaal Donkie - 2011-01-25 20:41

    To see one of the most intelligent animals in the world being treated in such a way makes me want to open a can of whoop-ass. Just point me in the right direction and wait till I'm finished.

      Loretta - 2011-02-01 15:07

      I know how these poor birds are caught and transported and it should be banned, silly me I thought it was banned! It makes me so sad and so cross to know that these very intelligent and beautiful birds are treated with so little respect by humans.

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