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.


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.


  • josua.1989 - 2011-01-13 23:06

    bloody people killing the good birds, leave them in the jungle you greedy pigs.

      RobertKay - 2011-01-14 04:38

      Maybe the "well respected" (if there IS such a thing) lawyer should fly to Durban in one of those crates to know what it's like. As you said Josua - it's all greed!

      Tres - 2011-01-14 04:41

      It's all those silly people who buy it so that they can tell their silly friends who much it costs. Who on earth wants a pet that lives 50-70 years? Your children aren't even going to look after you, never mind your exotic depressed pet.

      mollie.kruger - 2011-01-14 05:26

      I agree! How is this different to poaching?

      AJ - 2011-01-14 06:53

      @mollie.kruger Quite different to poaching as it turns out. Importing wildlife, adhering to quarantine etc is provided for by legislation. Poaching is theft or killing outside of the law - a very different concept. A tricky one for you to grasp? Remember this, just because you dont support an industry, it does not make it illegal. If you take the example of the San Diego Zoo importing a rhino or zebra for example as being different to someone trespassing onto a game farm and shooting the rhino and stealing the horn, then you are well on your way to understanding how this is different from poaching.

      betweenu&me - 2011-01-14 06:59

      Well said Tres!

      Alfred - 2011-01-14 07:26

      @ AJ Those parrots were caught in the DRC a failed state where the rule of law does not exist, so yeah these birds were poached.

      markwmilligan - 2011-01-14 07:36

      I agree josusa. Human beings are really selfish. African Greys are meant to be in the wild. Leave them there.

      Wayne_A - 2011-01-14 07:53

      I was in the DRC in 2005, at a market in Kinshasa there was a cage probably no bigger than 1.8m x 0.6m and there must have been about 100 Africa Grey's no older than 3-6 months old. This was so sad to see as they could barely move, there were also birds of prey and monkeys chained to trees. I was absolutely disgusted, I do not think the locals would buy them so it could have only been other people fuelling this trade. We as a species just destroy everything due to greed and self-satisfaction, we are killing our animal and marine life to a point where nothing will be left for our children.

      Jacquelene - 2011-01-14 08:28

      I agree whole heartedly. Leave them in their own habitat. Birds that are born and bred in captivity can be used as pets, not the ones born in the wild! We humans think we are so clever, but we are just destroying everything on this earth.

      Kent - 2011-01-14 08:43

      @AJ - there is always a bigger picture - sometimes difficult to see - for small minded people.If you snought rhino horn to get bigger penis or own a parrot to boost your tiny confidence - no difference! taking a wild animal out of their habitat and keep it tamed in a cage/closed in for yor greed - no difference! So - do you get the bigger picture? If not let me know, I could list a few more examples.

      Wendy - 2011-01-14 08:50


      davidbb - 2011-01-14 09:23

      @AJ re whether parrots are poached- you are quite wrong- parrots are sunbect to extensive poaching in the Congo, recently a cargo of 500 parrots parrots being exported to Asia were stopped at the airport for having faked CITES certification- they were then sent to the Lwiro primate rehabilitaion centre where they were house in the dining room- before they could be returned to the wild, two government officials came and impounded them, accompanied by the former'owner' and poacher -responsibkle for the illegal export. This shows us that corruption in a war torn state like the Congo is the norm and we should assume that all parrots coming from that country lack accreditation. This is exactly similar to rhino horn poaching. A few greedy individuals are prepared to exploit and abuse wild beings to make quantities of money irrespective of the law. And anyway, birds should nt be kept in cages

      davidbb - 2011-01-14 09:25

      One has to assume that AJ is a bird trader or breeder- these guys will do anything to keep their fists full of blood birds- additionally, senior government officials in Zimbabwe are implicated in the poaching, smuggling and abuse of formerly wild, innocent birds

      Wonderboy - 2011-01-14 10:03

      To all those who are so emotionally tied up. AJ was explaining to Mollie the difference between poaching and legal trading. Get the small picture?

      AJ - 2011-01-14 10:10

      @Wonderboy: Thanks Wonderboy!!!!! - but read on further down, the immature madness continues! I must say, this is like 'shooting fish in a barrel' - damn I did it again, apologies all, (and no I am not a fish-breeder or barrel-maker either!)

      emzozo.. - 2011-01-14 10:36

      @Joshua these ppl must leave the birds alone... I maean if they wated t hem to come to south africa y fly them here ... thought birds could fly.. just they should have just gave the birds directions n all should have been well....mxm

      DeonL - 2011-01-14 11:07

      My X wife owns an African Grey, I only miss the bird. They can be wonderfull pets, but outlives most owners. I have nothing against legal animal trade, it is like any other job a way to survive. - 2011-01-14 15:03

      AJ - whether or not birds or animals are taken legally or illegally from the wild, whether it is to go to a zoo, to sit in a cage in somebody's home, or to be killed and ground up into a powder to improve some moron's sexual performance, the fact remains that the industry of taking animals from the wild for profit is far out-stripping the reproductive ability of these wild populations. Anyone who cares about environment, animals or the planet as a whole is fully justified in finding this abhorrent. The answer is "don't buy a wild bred animal, don't buy ground rhino horn (or tiger parts or whatever), don't attend circuses that use trained animals of any kind, don't visit zoos". The money you spend on any of these supports the trade. And, by all means, express your indignation with the legality of the live animal trade at every opportunity. If enough people object to it often enough, eventually the government will have to see sense and make it illegal.

      zoolmadool - 2011-01-14 22:00

      No,no killem good birds oni sellem good birds killem bad birds,good a1.

      CliffBradley - 2011-01-15 15:39

      There are so many reputable breeders breeding captive African Greys , why bring wild adult birds that take years to tame & breed ?

      modmario - 2011-01-17 07:58


  • Mpuma Fred - 2011-01-13 23:11

    WTF are we importing african Greys for. We are concerned about Rhino poaching in SA but we don;t mind capturing wild birds else where and ruining an eco system there. WAKE UP FFS

      Prinqulesh - 2011-01-13 23:25

      Well said.

      GT - 2011-01-13 23:28

      Darn right Fred. Agree 100%

      Jan - 2011-01-13 23:30

      We have such double standards don't we? We are so shortsighted in our actions - I am terribly upset about this..... Ben Moodie should be ashamed of what he is doing...... what was he distrught about, the loss of the birds or the money?

      AJ - 2011-01-14 06:55

      Guys just because you dont approve of wild birds being brought to SA does not mean the eco system has been 'ruined'. Some perspective please.

      cervezab - 2011-01-14 07:16

      @AJ - so you say if the eco system is not ruined it is ok? if it is legal is is fine? Are the government and the companies making a profit from the sale of wild animals really qualified to make these choices for these animals or can society speak up against it if they consider it wrong and make a change in the world?

      Simon - 2011-01-14 07:37

      AJ you have some seriously warped ideas. You seem to feel that stripping wild birds out of their natural habitat and sticking those that survive (20%) into small cages in some dark flat and feeding them seed is OK? You use convenient logic and you speak like somebody that is part of this reprehensible industry.

      AJ - 2011-01-14 07:53

      @cervezab It is nice sentiment but then there are a million other things we should be cleaning up first if we want to be a better society than a legal import a of African Grey's. This industry is allowed, whether some countries can manage it better than others is debateable. Companies also make profit on weapons that kill tens of thousands each year, I just choose to put the 1500 African Grey's in a more realistic perspective. I would never want to own one or care for it, but others do. I dont like birds in cages, others dont mind. If you find it distasteful (as I do) so be it, but is is legal, monitored and subject to regulations. End of story. Holding this up as an example of callous capitalism on the part of companies is a bity strong. Cute animals always arouse stonger emotions (which is crazy), like cute missing kids stay in the media eye longer too.

      Colin - 2011-01-14 08:01

      This is disgusting! AJ, you seem to think the symantics of playing the difference between the definition of "poaching" and "Approved importing" makes the material difference here. This is 1650 birds being removed fromt he wild..By ONE individual.... How many are being removed in total?? Of course this has an impact on the environment, in the same way that removing significant numbers or any other organism in the foodchain does in eny eco system. This is greed...

      AJ - 2011-01-14 09:24

      @Colin - yeah what abaout horse racing, bloody trainig animals just to perform for our pleasure, so what if they are fast in any case. Let's wrap up that industry too, if we want to be so gung-ho about it. I have already indicated my displeasure with caged birds, but I draw the line at a bunch of jumped up bunny-huggers (only when it suits them no less) equating a poacher with some dude in KZN or wherever who has a pet shop or something and a legal permit to bring the wildlife in in the first place. Just because we love animals does not mean we have to throw common sense out the window too.

      Sarah - 2011-01-14 09:25

      @AJ - please, watch this little vid on the African Grey trade. ( Yes, stripping birds wholesale from an ecosystem is going to have an impact on that ecosystem. And just 'cos it's legal, doesn't make it right. And, just because i care passionately about the fate of these birds, doesn't mean that i don't care about all the other (in your eyes 'more important') injustices as well. This isn't an either/or situation.

      Colin - 2011-01-14 09:54

      @AJ - Your comment about horse racing makes no sense what so ever. Horses are domesticated animals, that are bred on farms. I am by no means advocating horse racing, and /or using animals for out pleasure, however you cannto compare the two. This is denuding the environment of animals - Horses are NOT indigenous species in the wild. And yes, if you want to class me as a "bunny hugger", then I am quite happy to fall into that category. Rather that than burying my head in the sand and pretending that these actions are justified, and "not so bad".

      davidbb - 2011-01-14 09:58

      @AJ recently 500 African Greys prevented from being exported without CITES certification were forcibly impounded and then forcibly exported without certification- which is to say poaching is the norma in the Congo, and we should assume all birds from the Congo have faked or no certification, and that CITES quotas are not being adhered to. Please get your facts straight before defending the trade in wild birds

      Simon - 2011-01-14 10:06

      AJ your sudden diversion into other matters of tragic consequence does not belittle what has happend to these parrots. You seem to live in an emotional island. You can apply all the cold logic in your private life (and good luck to you) but for the rest of us with warm beating hearts this is a tragedy.

      davidbb - 2011-01-14 10:10

      @AJ at the Ngoya biodiversity summit at the end of last year- the conference heard that 20% - one in five- of vertebrates on the planet are now facing imminent extinction- we need to radically rethink our understanding of the planet, our fellow Earthlings, and the 'entitlement' that we have claimed over them- Your view is Victorian in my opinion, and you need to update your thinking to come to terms with the scientific facts as well as rethink what it means to be human. As Sir David Attenborough says- life on Earth is ending, and we are ending it

      AJ - 2011-01-14 10:15

      @daviddb: you have pointed out irregularities in the Congo and other places, and therefore our country should take action if deemed appropriate to do so. I fail to see how this makes some guy in Krugersdorp who placed an order for them responsible for the process in a foreign country? Is the local guy here being arrested for illegally importing birds? If so then I would change my tune somewhat. However some people do LEGAL things that we dont like, that does NOT make them criminals, poachers, or deserving of amputation, or being set upon by tropical diseases and cast aside in the jungle..

      Mike - 2011-01-14 10:46

      @Colin - Your knowledge of animals is rather pathetic - the ONLY animal born tame is a dog. Cats, horses, birds etc are all born wild. If you want - I can arrange for you to get on an untamed horse and see how long you stay on. Also - have you seen or experienced what a horse goes through to have it "broken" in?? No, well I do. It is exactly the same as what those circus elepahnts and the ones used by the mahouts in India go through. Wwe can debate the whole day about animals - take the zoo for e.g - that in itself is also cruel - when are you going to protest and have all zoo's closed? Remember the outcry on Carte Blanch about the elephants - same story for horses. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. I do not quite agree with AJ but he has a point. Horses for courses. Haha-hehe.

      rade8408 - 2011-01-14 11:07

      ... Huge difference? The rhino's are illegaly being killed for thier horns. The parrots were going to breeders etc in SA, they were not being killed to fuel any kind of black market... they unfortunately died due to a stuff up by the airline.

      rade8408 - 2011-01-14 11:15

      ... Huge difference? The rhino's are illegaly being killed for thier horns. The parrots were going to breeders etc in SA, they were not being killed to fuel any kind of black market... they unfortunately died due to a stuff up by the airline.

      DeonL - 2011-01-14 11:29

      Have you ever heard theire nice voices? Some of them talk better than some polititians!

      Colin - 2011-01-14 12:27

      Oh Mike, get a life! Horses are born on farms, and are therefore domesticated. Undeniably there are wild horses, but I suspect they are few and far between in SA, and are certainly not endemic. You definition of "wild" is nebulous to say the very least.

  • GT - 2011-01-13 23:23

    poly want some oxygen

      King Dean - 2011-01-14 12:49

      OMG... I shouldn't be laughing but really...

      Sir Charles - 2011-01-14 15:34

      Brilliant , just made my weekend

  • Jan - 2011-01-13 23:27

    NO NO No- these birds must not be treated like this please! Leave the where they belong- we do not have the right to do this to them. Our wildlife suffers terribly from our greed and lack of compassion- we do not deserve this paradise called earth because we rape and pillage our own habitat- we will self-destruct if we carry on like this. Poor poor birds, I am so distraught about this

  • Francois - 2011-01-13 23:27

    The breeder put all his eggs in one basket and when it hatched he put all the birds on one plane. There's a lesson here somewhere.

  • Denise - 2011-01-13 23:32

    Greed! Lack of education! Untrained and Unsupervised staff. Lack of Caring and the desire to make a quick buck. This makes me sick to my stomach. Many animals are placed on the tarmac at OR Tambo waiting to be loaded into cargo holds. They sit and bake in the sun while the staff have lunch or tea. Pallets slip off hoists and crates fall from a dizzy height killing or maiming the animals. No one ever gets to hear the true story. The airlines spin their rubbish and cover up as much as possible. You need to be there to witness the lack of care. The public seldom hear of the single animals that do not make it. These get covered up. The state vet and the green scorpions are toothless tigers. Are they actually looking or just stamping docs? Obviously due to the financial losses incurred, this has come to light. Since when does a person of concience pay for hunters in another country to rape and pillage it's heritage and ship the animals all over the world? These people only love money. They don't think of the pain and suffering thattheir greed inflicts. I include the buyers of baby gorillas, exotic reptiles and so on. What a miserable death for such magnificent animals. I feel nothing for your finanacial loss. You deserve it. I am sure that you haven't got the slightest clue what I am going on about and my words are going right over the top of your head. It is only money. I am sure that you can easily make more. You cannot bring these beautiful creatures back to life.

      hetta.piek - 2011-01-14 08:04

      I agree, greed and no respect for the environment. Hundreds more were killed in the process of catching the birds. Whe can they not be satisfied with captive bred birds. Yes I know..greed.

      masterjane007 - 2011-01-14 08:30

      Yes, I am very concerned about my pets after reading this. If I have to load them on a flight I'll be so worried. And the airline officials won't let you near your own pets for "security" reasons. Probably so you won't see how they abuse and kill them. I'll rather pay my last dime for a chartered flight then where I can keep an eye on my animals.

      Lizette - 2011-01-14 12:18

      I agree with last part of Denise's comment. It is completely disgusting - the illegal wildlife trade. I certainly also will not fly 1Time again!!! It would also be good if RSA could make import of these birds illegal ( not that it would stop corrupt Africans!!!!!) It is really heartbreaking what happened to these birds. They belong in the wild. They are not suitable as pets. Look at the many rescue centres in America - see what become of most of these parrots!!

  • coda - 2011-01-14 00:19

    Sickening. Trade in exotic animals disguised as "breeding". What a farce. I hope that all the recipients of the dead parrots go bankrupt as a result; they deserve nothing more.

      cervezab - 2011-01-14 07:21

      we can start by telling people with African grays how despicable it is to cage a wild animal, but then not be hypocrites we need to become vegetarians as well

      masterjane007 - 2011-01-14 08:35

      Most animal lovers who own African Greys do not actually keep them caged up. I know a couple of very happy Greys who get to roam the house and the garden of their masters and absolutley love the attention they get. Although there is always a little bit of doubt in my mind over whether that is right or not, I cannot change the fact that Greys have been made into pets much like our cats and dogs. Those people who do keep their birds in cages all day long should not have birds. They are cruel people who probably keep their dogs on chains too. However, what I really have a problem with is the fact that these were once free birds. If a bird is born in captivity and then sold to a house where it gets to live a good life, then at least it knows no better, but to capture a free roaming animal and cage it up is disgusting, inhumane and should be punishable. If I were the author of the article I would have put much more emphasis on that so that people will realise how disgusting that is.

      charley - 2011-01-14 13:51

      All these people who are upset, me included, how many eat meat. I don't so I don't feel I'm a hypocrite. Do you know how animals suffer on the way to being killed.

  • posthumusdead - 2011-01-14 01:12

    It was 1time after all - what could they expect!

      mollie.kruger - 2011-01-14 05:28

      And your point is?

      Ockert - 2011-01-14 08:41

      What ???

      masterjane007 - 2011-01-14 08:50

      "we'll sort your birdies out for you - one time!"

  • posthumusdead - 2011-01-14 01:13

    It was 1time after all! What did you expect?

      phillip.havenga - 2011-01-14 07:24

      Your point? 1Time is a far better airline than a lot of the other mongrels operating.

      BlackSwan - 2011-01-14 08:19

      a mongrel by any name.....

  • jayt612 - 2011-01-14 02:41

    Same old story again ~ trying to "make" money out of breaching the laws of Earth. These birds should have been left in their natural habitat. "That what people take for granted will be taken away from them". This will happen until mankind learns to live in harmony at One with Earth. The power of One. Everyone is just scheming how to 'get' money out of anything, no matter the sorrows of a million tears. Animals also have feeling and are not stupid. Some have gifted homing senses. Hunting for money never works out. Easy come, easy go. People must just be humble, do a days work, get paid a wage and go home to tend to their families. But no way, they always want more. For what? BS. Now the poor parrots must suffer. For what, vanity! All is written in the Akashia records. This whole maddening chase after false paper money is meaningless. All just a zero-end-game. The good Book says the meek shall inherit the Earth - not maybe ---->shall! That time is close. G_d will not be mocked any longer. Mankind must humble themselves on their knees in front of their Maker. Closer to nature ~ closer to G_d. Again no spiritual balance. Mankind will never attain a deep discerning spirit. People should boycott the sales and purchases of these parrots. They are G_d's children leave them alone. Everyone plunders the Congo for greed. Mankind is becoming a disgrace to G_d's beauty. In the end our Planet, like a jewel as seen from the Cosmos will also become unbalanced. Man MUST stop messing with Earth natural balances. Which other animals will suffer next??? Man needs to repent and find G_d, tomorrow will too late. 2012 beckons ~ good luck. Shalom

      Mike - 2011-01-14 10:53

      Oi vey - We had to get a Bible freek on the parrot show? Where's your circus?

      DeonL - 2011-01-14 14:56

      We should then also leave the fish in the sea, sheep and cattle in the bush and become vegetarians?

  • Kevin Rack - 2011-01-14 03:30

    Poeple who put birds in cages are selfish idiots. Why deprive an animal of flight. Ban caged birds now.

      Tres - 2011-01-14 04:43

      You're right. Caged birds are silly. People who like looking at birds in a cage are silly.

      Karen - 2011-01-14 07:35

      You are so right! Birds do not belong in cages!!!! Ever!!

      Mike - 2011-01-14 10:56

      You people are so against caged birds - what about the hundreds or thousands of zoos/bird "sanctuaries" all over the world - all in cages for the masses to oggle. Where is the outrcry for this?????

      Wonderboy - 2011-01-14 11:22

      In a way we have also become caged birds. As I come home, I lock my gate and then after entering my house, I lock myself in for the night. I have become quite used to that now.

      Kenko - 2011-01-14 11:27

      Actually, I think anyone who keep any wild animals in cages are very selfish and cruel. Mankind have not domesticated any new type of animal in 5000 years, so leave wild animals where they belong. What a shame to put a winged animal in a cage! It should be free to soar above the rest of filthy humanity.

      Melanie - 2011-01-14 12:32

      But once they are domesticated, they have a cage for their protection. The family Grey goes into his cage to sleep. He feels safe in there.

      Maddi - 2011-01-14 12:41

      I have four parrots (two are rescues cases) and yes, they are kept in cages BUT, they have huge cages, I have kept them flighted and they have their own birdroom (and I am minus a dining room lol) where they have three huge tree playstands. They are free to come and go as they please during the day, and return to their cages at night. My birds are not "trophies" to display to my friends and I didn't choose any of them for their colourful plumage or talking ability. They are all a part of my family and I have done extensive research to ensure that their diets are as close to natural as possible, which means they eat better than the humans in my house, no commercial seed mixtures for my babies. Not all aviculturists are cruel or ignorant.

      DeonL - 2011-01-14 14:58

      Some African Grey owners like them on theire shoulders, so that is fine then? Grow up, some cats and dogs are also in small enclosures.

  • vanwykbj - 2011-01-14 04:20

    Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught, will we realise that we cannot eat money.

      OldDuck - 2011-01-14 07:30

      Now that is the best statement I have ever read!! How true.

      Tamz.S - 2011-01-14 08:46

      Spot on, brilliant way of phrasing it. Human greed....

      iainrhind - 2011-01-14 08:58

      Please supply the name of the person who made this quote, as it is not yours.

      iainrhind - 2011-01-14 09:00

      Actually, I have just remembered that it is an old Cree saying.

      PETA88 - 2011-01-14 10:02

      So true. It saddens me to hear stories like this. People just don't seem to care until it is too late.

      DeonL - 2011-01-14 15:04

      Tell this to our Government, water and other resources are not high on theire list.

  • Goddok - 2011-01-14 05:39

    I hope thy loose even more money !!! Greedy bastards!!

      Ockert - 2011-01-14 08:48

      And the guys a LAWYER (the one losing out) -- good one , poor birds !!!, anything could have gpone wrong , lack of water ??

      Mike - 2011-01-14 11:00

      @Goddok - loose is being untied - lose to be lost - Ingrish as she is spoke - not the one in the wheel) Is this too much for you?

      DeonL - 2011-01-14 15:08

      Some people can even make money from losses like this, if they were insured, all businesses should have insurance.

  • bb - 2011-01-14 06:24

    Why are people allowed to import exotic animals taken from the wild????????

      So What? - 2011-01-14 08:03

      Good question - I thought only captive bred birds / animals were allowed to be exported / imported. Makes one wonder if there was not some 'not so legal' goings on. Many CITES officials in some countires will issue certficates for plants / animals and so on for a small fee. Would love to see what our conservation authorities have to say about the legality of this and whether the correct pre-permit conditions had been met.

      DeonL - 2011-01-14 15:06

      It is not against the law if you have right permits.

  • Wimpyburger - 2011-01-14 06:26

    Did they have oxygen masks?

  • joe.delange - 2011-01-14 06:43

    How is this even still legal?

  • Susannomore - 2011-01-14 06:58

    All in an effort to rule and control. What right do they have taking these birds? Shame on you all.

  • spiderkzn - 2011-01-14 07:02

    WHy plane? dont the vehicle transport on road from jhb to durban just for like 10 hours?

      masterjane007 - 2011-01-14 08:51

      800 birds in a bumpy vehicle for a day? I'd also go with plane.

  • minimac - 2011-01-14 07:06

    most people have no idea of the extent of the parrot trade, legal and illegal. it is a highly profitable, multi million dollar business that results in the deaths of tens of thousands of parrots every year. the illegal trafficers operate the same way as international drug sydicates.

  • BlackieBlack - 2011-01-14 07:07

    you will only fly 1time with 1time

      Prava Ja - 2011-01-14 16:34

      It doesn't surprise me, their planes are like sardine cans with wings. Can only image what the cargo hold looks like!

  • ebdg3000 - 2011-01-14 07:07

    AJ, they were captured in the jungle in the DRC - that's poaching/exploitation/cruelty or whatever you want to call it. The people dealing in these birds have no interest other than financial. Wake up, you selfish greedy inconsiderate fools - a little bird from its natural environment does not owe its existence to you, i.e. don't rely on this bird to elevate your own miserable selfish life. Leave them where they are.

      AJ - 2011-01-14 09:28

      Take the time to READ what I post before replying, I may then take the time myself to discuss it with you.

      DeonL - 2011-01-14 15:13

      Some fishing can also be cruel, so all fisherman should then also be told they can not fish? Nothing wrong in catching anything if it is regulated by law. Sould stop eating fish and meat as it is cruel?

      jayt612 - 2011-01-14 20:04

      People try to compensate somewhat, by saying fish, bla, bla. Ok yes, but G_d has fish in the sea for man to eat. Man DONT east parrots! Bible also very clear on which meats are Kosher and which meats man is not allowed to eat - like Raven. Its about the money driven GREED and messing up the natural parrot's habitat - nothing else. Eating approved Kosher meats is a need and inline with G_d. Man's endless wicked GREED will sink him ~ unless man finds the pathway to Nirvana. Do animals harvest humans?? A man who cannot car for an animal is not fit enough to care for a child. People should listen to John Lennon's song "Imagine". Even at this point certain whales are trying to warn mankind of impending disaster according to scientific research ~ 2012 perhaps. Just go googling to learn more. Shalom Gentile talk about "Bible freeks"! (Which bible? which faith? Talmud, Torah) Ha, G_d will not be mocked. Disrespect man fine but find G_d my friend. Your Christian Lord said you can eat fish. So now which way my friends? Man's so-called gentile laws are not G_d's Law. Bible or no bible, G_d is real. 2012 beckons!

      zoolmadool - 2011-01-14 22:49

      JAYT612: Are u a Jew quite frankly u sound more of the vonkprop religion with a few bible words out of context and quotes of dead beatles an who the hell is G-d . like G-D + 2012 =BOONTJIE sop - beans u sound like I was before they took me away for treament.... Im muuuuch better now !

  • callyrob - 2011-01-14 07:29

    How very very sad I am to read this story! What a waste of life! All in the name of human greed! Disgusting!

  • sjvvuuren - 2011-01-14 07:30

    Animal's worst enemy = humans Let all the animals be and let us admire from the far and appreciate it more rather than it being a burden after a while because there is not enough time to spend with it and wanting to go on holiday, or the neighbours that wants to shoot fireworks.

      davidbb - 2011-01-14 09:26

      agreed sjvuuren- they should be living parrot lives with their friends and families in the trees

  • diranp - 2011-01-14 07:38

    Why are humans so greedy, these birds belong in the wild, not in a small cange..

  • Lyndatjie - 2011-01-14 07:43

    Leave the poor birds in the wild where they belong. What on earth do you get out of it if you coop up a bird that should be flying free in a tiny little cage where he can never taste the joy of flight again. The human race is sick!

  • ArtGee - 2011-01-14 07:51

    GREY day in the Parrot world... (pardon the pun)

  • Mr Cyanide - 2011-01-14 07:52

    Bloody hell fire... as a parrot breeder I am bloody appauled at this, Greys are rare enough as it is... some one needs to have an urgent meeting with a meatgrinder very quickly...

      rade8408 - 2011-01-14 11:17

      Greys are rare? Every second parrot owner and every pet shop I see has greys...

      Kenko - 2011-01-14 11:35

      Don't you feel even a bit guilty when the young ones stretch their wings, not knowing that they will never get to use them? Of all the things to make a buck from, this is certainly right up there amongst the most cruel.

      Loro - 2011-01-17 17:43

      Being a parrot breeder...we love to hear your words! We all get new antecedents every day, every minute, every second... and with that a new chance to think different, to make our planet a good place to live on.

  • grrrrr007 - 2011-01-14 07:53

    Ben Moodie, Boksberg Lawyer should be compared to and judged as a Slave Trader, benefiting off trafficing living species. He should be held responsible for the death of these beautiful animals. He's only regret is that he is now out of pocket. The man is no fit to be a lawyer, has no moral code and should pay be made to contribute the profit he was to make towards an animal rights organisation. Moodie is no better than a child trafficer who profits off the sale of children to the porno industry. If a few die in transit, well "a few casualties along the route" according to Ben is understandable.

      masterjane007 - 2011-01-14 08:56

      yes they do actually. do not start insulting lawyers by comparing them to this bastard. Just because you lost your court case does not mean lawyers are bad. arsehole.

      davidbb - 2011-01-14 09:29

      I agree grrrrrr007- he is just seeing parrots as commodities- the real answer here is to make it socially unacceptable to own wild birds and other wild animals- if the market for these collapsed, then greedy lawyers would not be able to further line their pockets

      masterjane007 - 2011-01-14 19:04

      The comment to which I answered has been removed from this site. It was not grrr's comment that I replied to.

      ji - 2011-01-15 11:25

      @masterLOSERjane007 , you are really just cheap trailer trash as no decent lady would swear like you do .

      Loro - 2011-01-17 17:49

      Great comparison! It belongs all in one package: trafficking of wild animals, pornography.... Perhaps we would have been able to detect the plight of wild parrots much earlier, if we just would have been able to understand EVIL in it´s purest form. Those of us, that are not evil will have a very hard time understanding all of this. But if good people don´t understand evil, they will not be able to fight it.

  • Homo-Sapien - 2011-01-14 07:53

    Screw these breeders! Why remove these animals from their native Congo?? African Greys breed easily in captivation. I feel sorry for the animals , but the breeder/s deserve the financial loss!

      Loro - 2011-01-17 17:51

      Breeders demand wild caught parrots, because they need new/fresh blood to breed. To avoid inbreeding. A captive born parrot is still a parrot...a wild animal. Like a captive born human is still a free human.

  • YasButIDunno - 2011-01-14 07:57

    Greed, greed , greed and small minds of the same calibre as those who keep live snakes in glass cases to try and impress everybody.

  • ginaclorenzi - 2011-01-14 07:59

    Those poor Birds must have been frightened!! and of course 1time would start shifting the blame, is it completely impossible for anyone in this country to own up to their faults and take responsibility?? I agree 110% with Mpuma Fred's comment ~ why are we importing so many African Grey's?? They are not souvenirs, yes they make lovely pets, but to go and capture them out of their natural habitat is just cruel!!

      davidbb - 2011-01-14 09:31

      gina- what is a pet? why is it lovely to stare at an improsoned parrot? Google ALEX and Dr Irene Peppenburg and you will understand just how intelligent these birds are, as he learnt a lot of English, and could communicate extensively with the stupid monkeys - us. He coined new terms - like cork nut- when he wanted an almond

      rade8408 - 2011-01-14 11:19

      @davidbb Alex was also considered one of a kind, as no other african grey has been able to come close to replicating his intelligence. Google it.

      rade8408 - 2011-01-14 11:21

      @davidbb Alex was also considered one of a kind, as no other african grey has been able to come close to replicating his intelligence. Google it.

      DeonL - 2011-01-14 15:26

      They can talk, the same as a 5 year old

      Loro - 2011-01-17 18:02

      We also would like to see 1time airline taking their share of responsiblity. It was them who transported the birds. Even if the birds hypothetically would have died of poisoning, it is still responsibility of the airline, because the allowed them on their flight. It is like gaming...1time airline got the worst of all cards, because we are sure, that they are not the only one´s transporting wild birds. As bad as this might look for 1time airline, they got the once-in-a lifetime-chance to show us all that we can learn from our mistakes and do better. We would be happy to be able to fly 1time airline if they would accept their responsiblity and show the world, like Lufthansa, a German airline, once did, that it is possible to fly without having animals in the cargo that use wings to fly too. It is awkward to think of a plane that has wings, carrying the same animals, from whom flight has been imitated. Be happy that the plane didn´t crash. There is always a worse case scenario. We would appreciate if 1time airline would not only NOT transport any wild animal anymore but promote this same decision to other airlines. We are sure, that all the seats of 1time airline would be filled.

  • grrrrr007 - 2011-01-14 08:02

    And let's not forget the airline in all this! As guilty as the rather greedy Ben Moodie is (he must be a crap lawyer to have to resort to slave trading birds) 1Time should also be pulled over the coals...! If you see how they treat your bags, imagine the agony and torment those pore birds had to endure! I mean, its a shit flight from the DRC to SA, but all the birds made it...then 1Time and Ben ended their life of slavery and prison like the Nazi's did to the Jews...gassed! So Ben, 1Time and all those that peddle in the misfortune of others...your 1Time will come soon and I hope it's as painful and torturous as the fate you dealt those beautiful birds!

      davidbb - 2011-01-14 09:32

      well said grrrrrrrrrr007- it is slavery

      Maryna123 - 2011-01-14 11:53

      Well said!!!!

      Jabberjaw - 2011-01-14 12:39

      Really? The death of 750 ANIMALS are akin to the killing of 6 million humans? You really need to get your priorities straight.

      Loro - 2011-01-17 18:09

      Millions of jews, gipsies and other different thinkers.... killed by the nazis...millions of birds killed by traffickers and indirectly by breeders and keepers....where is the difference? Who said, that one life is worth more than another? Not forgetting that keeping/selling a slave makes us .... slave keepers/traders! What else are we able to do? Nazis killed whatever they thought of is less than them. It didn´t need religion, it only needed sick minds. We wouldn´t need to discuss all of this, if we all only would stick to the truth and fight for it. There is only ONE truth. If you didn´t find it yet, keep digging!

  • amanda.g - 2011-01-14 08:03

    Shocking,leave these birds in their natural environment..

  • Fat Rucker - 2011-01-14 08:04

    E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!

      Nedkelly - 2011-01-14 08:24

      And you are a total sub-moron who thinks he's a comic but has just shown that he is just a complete fool. - 2011-01-14 08:35

      Lol!!! Love Monty Python. A bit insensitve to the current article, but very sharp dude!

      Fat Rucker - 2011-01-14 08:55

      @Nedkelly - Well, I'd better replace it, then. (he takes a quick peek behind the counter) Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the back of the shop, and uh, we're right out of parrots.

      iainrhind - 2011-01-14 09:17

      I agree it's a bit insensitive, but that is one of Monty Python's best sketches.

  • KRJ - 2011-01-14 08:05

    One of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen was when I worked in the rain forest in Gabon and heard these birds in the mornings and evenings and seen them flying free. I have also seen them in cages in South Africa, which I find incredibly cruel. It is an absolute disgrace that wild animal trade is still allowed in the World.

      davidbb - 2011-01-14 09:33

      agreed KRJ it is medievalism to treat our fellow Earthlings in this way

      Loro - 2011-01-17 18:12

      yes, it is a big disgrace! But it serves as a big example of everything that´s wrong in this world. If we can´t stop the trade in wild parrots, what are we able to stop?

  • coolwaynie - 2011-01-14 08:13

    e-1Time shoeshine.....African airlines. Bet this would never have happened in a first world country.

      Loro - 2011-01-17 18:13

      don´t might loose...greed is everywhere!

  • trevb - 2011-01-14 08:17

    we need to ban the trade in all nondoestic animals. parrots are a social animal and don't thrive in captivity . as result wild populations of parrots .are being ravaged for the demands of selfish human beings. this applies tpo reptiles toO> We are killing mother nature at an alarming rate . fish populations are being wiped out. whatever happenned to the principle of fallow years of farming . let the earth heal itself and let populations recover. our children are the one's who are going to suffer !!!!

      davidbb - 2011-01-14 09:34

      well said trev- no ownership or trade in wild non-human animals or their body parts

  • Bradley - 2011-01-14 08:20

    "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." Huh?? This sounds fishy already....

  • siren703 - 2011-01-14 08:20

    human arrogance sickens me, who do we think we are constantly interfering with nature. its so sad to think that animals who have every right to live the lives they were naturally intended to, but cant because of our greed and ignorance. im sick of hearing these harrowing stories of helpless creatures dying and being mistreated so that we can make a quick buck. what heartless beings we are! animals are living, breathing, feeling, creatures that have a right to life why cant we respect that!! they do not belong to us or are on the earth for us to trap, cage, test on, skin/wear, put on display, teach tricks to, sell, barter with, use a medicine, eat, etc, etc....

  • nick - 2011-01-14 08:21

    Methinks there is 'foul play' here !

      rade8408 - 2011-01-14 11:21

      Methinks there is 'fowl play' here ! <---- fixed it for you. Puns are clearly higher grade material.

      rade8408 - 2011-01-14 11:24

      Methinks there is 'fowl play' here ! <---- fixed it for you. Puns are clearly higher grade material.

  • Nedkelly - 2011-01-14 08:21

    When will this persistent killing of defenceless animals stop. I am sick to my stomach about this and I sincerely hope that the SPCA gets involved and prosecutes all involved to the fullest extent of the law - not that there is much in the way of law in this country when it comes to animals. This is seriously heartbreaking. These are super intelligent creatures and they MUST be left alone in the wild where they belong. Shame on all of you involved in this tragedy - I curse you all.

  • evylshnukums - 2011-01-14 08:23

    AJ you wouldn't perhaps have a vested interest in this particular industry?

      AJ - 2011-01-14 09:31

      No, I can't stand animals in captivity, even zoos bug me (especially in countries where the animals exist in the wild). I also dislike clapping seals and dancing dolphins etc too. I would not want a budgie in a cage, never mind a parrot. Why do you ask?

  • masterjane007 - 2011-01-14 08:24

    This is tragic and extremely sad. What really enrages me though is that these birds were not bred, they were allegedly caught in the wild! Disgusting! And what is more is that that lawyer once again manages to bring the legal profession into disrepute. He should be removed from the roll for being involved in such immoral things.

      ji - 2011-01-14 10:02

      masterloserjane007 " lawyer once again manages to bring the legal profession into disrepute " thanks to the greed and morals ( or should i say what morals ) of lawyers the legal profession in SA cant get any worse than it already is .

      masterjane007 - 2011-01-14 19:06


      masterjane007 - 2011-01-14 19:06

      too stupid to understand the tests in your introduction to legal studies course, hmmmmmmmmmm?

      masterjane007 - 2011-01-14 19:07

      I bet you lost your divorce case agaisnt your wife! huhhahahahahahahahahahaha!

      ji - 2011-01-15 11:21

      you have no clue who i am and you dont know me so dont assume that you know my life and as for stupid and being a loser , after reading your childish and dumb comments you are the one that has proved how stupid you are . as for the f... you , no thanks i wont lower myself to your level and you would never be that lucky , i dont mix with retards .

      Loro - 2011-01-17 18:16

      would you like, being a slave, having your children taken from you?

  • ralphwigzell - 2011-01-14 08:26

    What plane was it? Did they forget to turn on the cargo heat switch? If they forgot to turn on that switch, the temperature in the cargo hold would be sub zero.

      Oliver - 2011-01-14 08:35

      1time fly MD80's (Mc Donald Douglas) , yes they can set the temp to low but the minimum temp is 5 deg C .

      Loro - 2011-01-17 18:17

      it doesn´t matter what they forgot to turn on. they transported the birds...they didn´t say NO, WE DON´T DO THIS!

      Loro - 2011-01-17 18:18


      Loro - 2011-01-17 18:18


      Loro - 2011-01-17 18:19

      Although they had it coming with ignoring the cargo....

  • Andrew - 2011-01-14 08:26

    Birds are very susceptible to fumes, etc that don't bother other animals. It sounds like something leaked into the cargo hold or there was low pressure in the hold causing oxygen starvation. It's tragic as these are such intelligent birds and living creatures. To use them as a commodity and shunt them around the country like common cargo is just wrong. These were wild birds, taken from their natural habitat so some greedy person could make themselves a few bucks.

  • Oliver - 2011-01-14 08:29

    I was an Aircraft Engineer for 16 years so can tell you that you can set the temperature and airflow to the cargo holds , ie if you transport flowers of frozen fish you set the temp close to freezing . To save money/fuel you can also turn down the airflow to the cargo holds or Cabin which reduces the work load on the Aircon Units therefore less power required or in the aircrafts case less air which is ducted from the Engins , less air from the Engins equals lower power settings and a saving on fuel

      coolwaynie - 2011-01-14 12:41

      In e-1Time's case that makes sense. Save a few Rants here and there to make that monthly quota. One wonders if they learnt their lesson....

  • luigi - 2011-01-14 08:31

    I have to say that this is highly not on. I am the proud owner of two African Greys and are proud to have them for me and my wife's pleasure. They came into our lives five years ago at the age of 3 months and were a comfort to us as we were going through a very emotional patch. They lifted our spirits and do so every day. They have also taken to our grand daughter (2yrs) and are constantly playing with her. I can hear the you ask how can we allow this? Easy, it's all done under supervision and she is never allowed alone with the birds. To watch these birds communicate with her is something that a lot of you sour faced people can come and watch and learn. I do not condone what these guys are doing and hate people we harm any animal. A few years ago more African Greys died on a flight to America than on this one.

      Johann - 2011-01-14 09:09

      still wild birds in cages ... acting as your emotional crutch ... shame. I know you mean good ... but think about it from the birds point of view... flying free in a forest or being your little personal emotional support and feel good solution.. the bird if it had a choice would not choose you ...

      KS - 2011-01-14 09:12

      Proud owner? Rather an ignorrant Donkey, why don't you try a counsellor to get through your rocky patch, try some books or toys for your daughter before she catches the bird flu - works much better- another one who does not get the big picture.

      davidbb - 2011-01-14 09:36

      this is a racist comment- the benefactors of this story seem to be the lawyer and the 'breeder' its the organisers of the trade who are making money hand over fist at the expense of the parrots

      davidbb - 2011-01-14 09:49

      I think this comment is racist- its the 'respected lawyers' who need to be put in cages and flown at freezing point

      zoolmadool - 2011-01-15 18:14

      How do u know whether the birds would chose him or not my guess is that they would at this point in time .What happened was a tragic accident and I would recommend that in future the birds should never be transported in groups of more than 50 they ll all get there in the long run and never again with this loss.Also you that are assuming that the birds were flown at freezingpoint there as sure as hell be an investigation. Nobody likes what happened !

      Loro - 2011-01-17 18:27

      Yes, we agree that this is not only about 1time airline. Many airlines transport birds, although they shouldn´t. We always hear ¨owners¨ of parrots, justifying ¨ownership¨, even in the presence of ¨love¨. Nothing of all those justifications justifies the fact that those birds are captive and not free, if they never had the chance to fly away. Good for you if they come back, but you have to give them A CHOICE. Otherwise you may be considered a slave keeper. If they come back, perhaps they really ¨love¨ you, if they come back, because outside it is too cold, they just may try to survive. We don´t know, we are not birds, we don´t think like birds, we haven´t been around for more than 100,000,000 of years. Just open a window and see....

      Loro - 2011-01-17 18:29

      We don´t want to talk about the parrot now, but about your granddaughter. What do you teach her? What may she think about the parrot not being free? She might think that Freedom is not worth anything.

  • evylshnukums - 2011-01-14 08:33

    The wild capture of birds is unacceptable on every level. Join the World Parrot Trust, write to the government, do not support this trade, and spread awareness. We can fight this terrible trade.

      zoolmadool - 2011-01-15 18:27

      YEAH it will possibly stop the trade if everybody does it then the locals not having the income will simply eat the birds I eat Loerie at a friends place when I was a kid and have never forgotten how delicious that was maybe African grey is a delicacy which is at the moment offset by the terrific prices. Checks and balances !

      Loro - 2011-01-17 18:31

      Please don´t ever trust blindly any organisation trying to ¨save parrots¨. They may save them, but knowing is always better than trusting.

  • Irené - 2011-01-14 08:35

    Keeping parrotsevil peoplem every single breeder should be held accountable,these birds belong in the congo, no in a breeders cage. Why are people so damn selfish, greedy and stupid??

      Loro - 2011-01-17 18:31

      We are as clueless as you.

  • mandrake - 2011-01-14 08:43

    This is why humans are just the most terrible creatures on the planet. We don't deserve to have these beautiful birds as pets. The remaining 800 parrots in the Congo should be set free in the jungle as an apology.