The truth about the parrot trade:

Parrots for pets? Large number of parrots (psittacines group) are already looking for new homes. Parrot buyers or owners are not always fully aware of the long term commitment and the time they need to give. Very little thought is given to the process of bringing parrots into pet markets.

Smuggled lorys in cramped cages – only 60% survive

Our lengthy investigation about illegal parrot trappers in Maluku exposed that parrots are trapped using thick gum, netting or snares. Once the parrots are caught, they are pinned down and their sensitive flight feathers, which have nerve endings, are plucked whilst they are still alive! This is extremely painful and cruel and renders the parrots unable to fly – flightless parrots are more saleable as pets. Trappers sell these parrots to the dealers who stuff them in crammed cages and smuggle them to the illegal wildlife markets. The journey from the source to the destination markets is extremely long and traumatising for parrots. Not surprisingly, once they reach the “markets” only 60% of those that have been captured survive.

In some developing countries, animal welfare is unheard of. Parrots are bought as “exotic pets” or “trophies” and are mostly confined to very small cages or chained to their perches. Many are given an unsuitable diet for their digestion system, no room to move, no natural stimulation or veterinary care. Often they are forgotten by busy owners and spend the rest of their shortened lives confined in small cages. Captive parrots are not able to express their natural behaviour; many developing long-term stress and behavioural problems which result in the sensitive birds plucking their feathers out or even self mutilation.

Parrot species are trapped, smuggled and exported to “bird markets” in Java, including Jakarta and internationally, to North America, Europe, Middle East, Pakistan, Japan, Taiwan, etc. Traders use forged documents to disguise sources. The fact is that most parrots from these sources are trapped in the wild. It is extremely unlikely these parrots are “captive bred” no matter what the trader says.

Each year we estimate there are more than 100,000 parrots caught from the wild to supply the domestic and global “pet” markets. They are bought and sold with no regard for the dwindling numbers left in the wild. Little do people realise the sheer cruelty behind the trapping, hunting and smuggling processes. For every 100 parrots trapped, at least 40 die because of extreme stress, injuries, wing mutilation and trauma.

Indonesia has some of the most beautiful parrot species in the world. North Indonesian regions such as the Maluku (Moluccas) group of islands, Papua, Seram, Ambon and Sumba, are home to different species of cockatoos, colourful lories and birds of paradise. Many are already listed as highly endangered in CITES Appendix I (species threatened with extinction by the trade), such as sulphur crested, goffin, lesser sulphur crested, citron crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata), and other cockatoo groups.

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