Today is a day to celebrate for bird lovers. Today, all international trade in African grey parrots is now banned thanks to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Johannesburg, where the 182 member nations ultimately voted in favor of giving greys the highest level of protection.
According to CITES, about 21% of wild greys are harvested every year, and 60%+ die somewhere in the process of being captured and transported to market. Right now, the wild African grey population is estimated to be around 560,000.
Bird lovers often cite Dr. Irene Pepperberg’s work with Alex – a Congo African grey – as seminal work on bird intelligence generally, and also as evidence for the argument to protect grey populations in the wild.
The full proposal presented at CITES can be found here. Formally, what was voted on was whether to transfer greys from CITES Appendix II to Appendix I (appendices explanation here). Note that the new rules apply to both Congo and Timneh African greys.
I’m guessing this was most greys’ reaction to the news: