Polly Want a Life!!

November 8, 2013

Steve Zack, WCS Coordinator of Bird Conservation, explains the conservation efforts needed to protect the intelligent and highly social African Grey Parrot.

In Central Africa, on the edge of the immense Congolean rain forest, I recently convened with colleagues from WCS and BirdLife International to discuss how best to conserve the African Grey Parrot, one of the most popular birds of the pet trade worldwide.

Thanks in no small part to Alex, the subject of intensive studies by my colleague Dr. Irene Pepperberg, the African Grey is also one of the best-known species to demonstrate intelligence. Irene's studies revealed that Alex could make accurate use of human speech and syntax, and seemed to convey thoughts and feelings.

Two paradoxes to explore. First, the very popularity in the trade of this bird may place it in jeopardy. It is now listed by IUCN as Vulnerable due to declines in its range and numbers. While imports of wild parrots are now illegal in the U.S. and in Europe, the trade continues to grow in Asia and the Middle East.

Read the full article on the Huffington Post>>
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