Human domesticated domesticated animals have been around for thousands of years. However, in recent years, the dark side of the pet trade has become increasingly prominent: wild animals have been poached, transported, bred, sold, and captive, and the exotic pet trade inevitably has a cruel status quo.
Although the existence of different pets has been thousands of years old, in the past it was only a small-scale breeding of elites, but now there have been great changes. Convenient transnational air transport and Internet transactions have made it easier for buyers to buy wild animals as pets. This has prompted more people to accept this kind of buying and selling, which in turn has led to a surge in wild-sex trade. It has become a global industry worth tens of billions. At present, the global trade in wildlife is estimated to be as high as 30-42 billion US dollars, of which the illegal trade volume is estimated to be as high as 20 billion US dollars.
Therefore, the pet trade is one of the biggest threats to wildlife. Therefore, we launched a new “wild animals are not pets” project to curb the wild pet trade, to avoid wild animals suffering from poaching or captive breeding because they want to become pets.
In February 2019, we released the Global Trade Report on Wild Animals, which for the first time revealed the cruel truth behind this tens of billions of dollars worth of global industries. The report analyzes the trade in exotic pets from three aspects: animal welfare, species protection and human health threats, and points out that convenient transnational air transport and Internet transactions are important factors in the surge in global exotic pet trade.
Among all kinds of birds, parrots are one of the most endangered species. A large number of wild parrots are being hunted to supply the global pet trade market, which pushes species such as African grey parrots to the extreme endangered edge, even extinct in some areas. For example, 99% of wild grey parrot populations in Ghana have disappeared. As a result, almost the entire parrotfish is listed as an animal under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international intergovernmental agreement aimed at controlling international trade in endangered flora and fauna.
Wild animals and their behavior
Wild African Grey Parrots are highly socialized mammals that often nest in large clusters, up to 100,000, and then form a small family. During the day, they fly long distances in groups, sometimes up to several kilometers. The African Grey Parrot has a complex social relationship, not only management but also cooperation. They have behaviors such as parental care and grooming or rumbling for other individuals, feeding food to other individuals and other altruistic behaviors.
According to some studies, fully adult African grey parrots have the same level of intelligence as human young children. African grey parrots are monogamous and parents take care of the young birds. Other members of the group will also help with the care of the young birds – each parrot has at least four adult parrots to take care of. Nowadays, there are few studies on African gray parrots in the field of voice communication, and more research focuses on their ability to learn human language. It is believed that the ability of a parrot to speak is based on its nervous system that supports complex information processing and training, which is easy for researchers to judge and measure.
African Grey Parrot trading situation
The exotic pet trade has resulted in 21% of wild African grey parrots being captured each year. Since the entry into force of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CirrES) (1975), there are about 12 million parrots (all species) in international trade, of which 1.3 million (11%) are African grey parrots. 7.5 million (62%) were captured in the wild or the source was unknown.
In view of the fact that 30%-66% of African grey parrots poaching in the wild will die before the transaction, the African grey parrot may live up to 2.5 million in legal trade. In 2016, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora raised the protection level of African grey parrots to Appendix I, prohibiting international trade and commercial sales, except under strict management and special circumstances. However, our investigation found that the illegal trade of the species is still ongoing. During the period 1984-1992, the annual volume of transactions reached more than 50,000.
Because African grey parrots like to live in groups, trapping usually occurs in their stalks. The hunter will choose a tree, then climb through the ladder to the tree, place a mixture of gum on the branch, and then use a bait parrot to attract other African grey parrots to the branches. The hunters usually injure the bait parrots. It will scream. When other parrots hear the same kind of screams, the claws of the wild gray parrots who come to scout will be glued to the sticky glue and cannot escape. It is obvious that the method of capturing African grey parrots in the wild is extremely cruel. .
Captive biology and animal behavior
African Grey Parrot is one of the most popular birds in Europe, the United States and the Middle East. The main reason is its longevity and ability to imitate human language. Scientist Irene Pepperberg has conducted a multi-year study of a captive African grey parrot, Alex, and the results show that African grey parrots can imitate English. The study also found that they can identify, express requests and rejects, classify and quantify more than 80 different objects, and answer conceptual questions about colors and shapes. The captive African Grey Parrot can learn to perform certain behaviors that were once thought to be done only by humans and primates.
Usually, captive animals have compulsive behaviors, such as pulling their own feathers. This behavior is similar to that of human obsessive-compulsive disorder, and this phenomenon is caused by stress, isolation and inability to communicate with other parrots. . Studies have shown this, and feathered birds have higher corticosterone levels, indicating that they are under stress for a long time. Nowadays, there is no way to prevent the African Grey Parrot from pulling its own feathers, nor is it a drug that can promote its regrowth of feathers. And African gray parrots often suffer from sinusitis and respiratory diseases. If birds are fed low-calcium whole-seed foods, they are prone to hypocalcemia (low blood calcium), which includes tremors, tetanus, and epilepsy.
In fact, the amount of care and care they need is the same as taking care of a toddler. Because if there is a lack of care, the non-measured parrots in the captive family will make a mess at home. They will not only throw food on the ground, but also bite the cage and mess up the home environment. Even with good social and effective training, they will still be embarrassing, so their behavior is indeed unpredictable. Being bitten by African gray parrots is incredibly painful, which means that even experienced veterinarians can’t handle them, and parrots can spread zoonotic diseases.
African grey parrots have a long life span, so few breeders can provide a stable living environment for such birds. In their lives, they will be handed over by different owners, and the emotions will be seriously hurt. At the same time, pet parrots also need a lot of space to fly, because flying is an indispensable item for their mental and physical health, and this is difficult to meet in family housing.
In fact, because of the monogamy of African grey parrots, they usually have strong dependence. This dependency is very attractive to the owner, but it can lead other people inside and outside the family to be regarded as competitors by the gray parrot and become the target of attack. In the wild, parrots are not alone, but when they are raised as pets, they cause severe emotional and mental pain.
Finally, we remain committed to ending animal abuse, calling on the public not to capture, not buy, or raise wild animals as pets, and not to spread videos of exotic pet sales and entertainment on social networks.
Wild animals are nature and should not be kept as pets. Only in a white environment can wild animals live freely, away from pain and abuse.