Bulgarian customs officers have seized 10 African grey parrots which a Bulgarian citizen tried to bring into the country from Turkey without proper documents required under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The origin of the birds is unknown, the Customs Agency said in a statement on Friday. They will be temporarily sheltered at Sofia Zoo until the Environment Ministry issues a final ruling on their accomodation.
The birds, which were not accompanied by veterinary certificates, were seized at Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint at the border with Turkey. A fine ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 levs could be imposed on the man who has tried to smuggle the parrots into Bulgaria.
Even though these birds have a wide range, their numbers are declining in most of the 23 African countries they naturally occur - mostly due to habitat destruction and capturing for the pet trade.
These popular birds have the reputation for being amongst the most intelligent of all birds. They are in demand because of their human-like ability to mimic speech and generally gentle nature.
CITES is an international agreement between governments meant to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The African grey parrots are listed in Appendix II of the convention, which includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but trade in which must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.