I had initially started this post with completely different intention. Yet as I did research on the topic of birds and their ability for speech and song, I came across a daunting reality. It became so amazingly clear to me that we, as a world and as a society, have a serious dilemma in front of us that is going seemingly ignored. Of all the birds that are vocal, Parrots are the ones which exhibit the greatest ability. It is for this reason that many of the wild Parrot species are being threatened, as they are taken captive to be sold as house pets.
I grew up in the 90’s and during that time, there was a public campaign to “Save the Rainforest.” Activists and wildlife experts then were trying to raise awareness for the need to stop the destruction of harvesting the rainforest for private companies. Thousands of trees and habitat were being cut down and ravaged through, without a single tree or bush being replanted in its place. All of the jungle wildlife were being threatened and guess what- It’s STILL happening! I’m in my 30’s now and lo and behold, very little is being done; and what is being done, simply isn’t enough. The population of jungle birds are dwindling as a result of this, and yet, this isn’t the only factor contributing to this decline. What birds that ARE left in the wild, are being taken into captivity for the pet trade.
Common household exotic birds include: the African Grey, Amazon Parrots (various breed types,) Caiques, Cockatiels, Cockatoos, Conures, and Macaws. All of the birds I just named above are listed as an endangered species- aside from the Cockatiels and a few Macaw breeds. Don’t believe me? Click here!
Is it possible that these birds are being sought after in the private sector as a means of ensuring conservation? Maybe. And if so; that’s great! But why is that the first measure of conservation and not the last? Preservation of their natural habitat should be the focus; not harboring as many as you can until their apocalypses. The average cost of an African Grey is between $1,000 to $1,500. What I am suggesting is that, if you truly do care about these exotic birds, take that $1500 and donate it to the IUCN, or the Rainforest Foundation. There is still time to save what is left.