African Greys: halt imports, urges parrot trust

2011-01-19 00:00

THE director of World Parrot Trust Africa, Dr Steve Boyes, has alleged that about 500 more African Grey parrots are being held at the Kempton Park quarantine station in Johannesburg and are due to arrive in Durban on an SAA flight tomorrow.

Last week The Witness reported that 769 parrots of the same species died on a 1Time flight from O.R. Tambo International to King Shaka on Christmas Eve.

They were imported from the Democratic Republic of Congo by parrot trader Ben Moodie. The national quarantine station under the Department of Agriculture is yet to release autopsy results.

Boyes has called on SAA to reject the shipment and on the government to halt any further imports of the African Greys into South Africa.

“SA has become a hub for the trade in wild-caught parrots and monkeys from around the world, especially the DRC and other poor African countries that are easily taken advantage of. The exporters and traders have no consideration for the welfare of these parrots. It is shocking that 500 more parrots are being imported by the same people and flown to Durban to join the 730 African Grey carcasses,” said Boyes in a statement.

SAA’s head of corporate services, Fani Zulu, denied the airline will be transporting parrots.

The Witness has learnt that the Kempton Park quarantine station is closed.

Moodie denied knowledge of the 500 parrots. He said he is still waiting for a quarantine report from Congo to give him a date top arrange for blood tests before he imports the birds into South Africa.

He said, “Breeding parrots is time-consuming and breeders spend time caring for the birds. After hand feeding and teaching them a few things, you are looking at about R3 000 to R4 000 per bird — and there’s nothing wrong with breeding the birds.”

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