By Terese Hart
The export of Congo’s African Grey parrots was first recorded in the 1980s and exports rose sharply in the 1990s (CITES and Birdlife Int’l). In the 21st century the exports have far surpassed the CITES quota of 5000 birds per year. That is living birds, legally recorded. Actually many more parrots are caught, but die in captivity or are exported illegally and never make the export statistics.
The parrot capture-campaigns started in the west of Congo hitting hard the forests of Salonga National Park. Now captures are moving further east. The seasoned trapper, from Equateur Province looks for better capture grounds in Orientale and Maniema Provinces.
Traders are now on the borders of TL2. Parrots for export are still primarily sent west through Kinshasa, but shipments have picked up in the east as well. What do we see of this parrot trade in the TL2 forests?
In TL2 John came across capture teams on the Lomami River, “Parc Perroquet”, and Bravo and others visited a capture team near our Katopa camp, Bamanga opening. In both cases the trader’s collection permits were bogus. Salumu documented grey parrot shipments from the Kindu airport. All we needed was a nudge to pull our information together and to fill in some of the holes. Birdlife International provided the push – they wanted to know what was happening in DR Congo for their September meeting in Monrovia.
Gilbert and Bravo made expeditions to various forest openings in central Congo frequented by parrots. More....