Pay to keep African grey parrot or face prosecution, Balala warns 

African grey parrot

The African grey parrot.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • The grey parrot was listed as endangered by the International Union Conservation and Nature (IUCN).
  • The bird is also threatened with extinction due to unsustainable trapping and habitat loss, according to IUCN.

For its ability to mimic human speech, the African grey parrot makes great pets and a captivating companion. But these benefits won’t come cheap, according to the Kenya Gazette Notice by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, as the government moves to protect the bird which is threatened with extinction mainly due to habitat loss and illegal trade.

To keep one, Kenyans will be required to pay a registration fee of Sh12,000 and an extra Sh7,000 for annual certificate of legal possession.

For those already possessing the bird, Mr Balala has extended an amnesty of 45 days from October 25 for them to follow the procedure and register them with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

“Any person, group of persons or institutions in Kenya, who are in possession of African grey parrots without a permit or licence issued by the Kenya Wildlife Service, declare them to the service for registration/permitting within a period of 45 days from the 25th October, 2021, shall not be subject to criminal prosecution,” the CS said in the notice.

The requirement for registration of possessing the bird comes after increased cases of wildlife cybercrime. The grey parrot was highly traded and was listed as endangered by the International Union Conservation and Nature (IUCN), and ranked one of the most traded birds. 

Very attractive bird

The bird is also threatened with extinction due to unsustainable trapping and habitat loss, according to IUCN.

Information about the African grey parrot from online sources reveal that it is not only a very attractive bird but also an intelligent parrot thus the moniker ‘The Einstein of the Bird World’ for its uncanny ability to mimic many sounds and even talk articulating words and phrases. 

Some scientists even claim that they have the ability to know when others are in danger. On its portal, Lafeber Company, for instance notes that the African grey parrot “seem very attuned to their people’s emotions.”

For its intelligence and supernatural abilities, the parrot has become a prime target for poachers, according to Birdlife International. Online, the birds have been put up for sale on some common e-commerce sites in the country. On these sites, a bird retails for between Sh25,000 and Sh30,000.

As such, IUCN says the parrot is threatened with extinction while the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) has placed it on Appendix I, which lists species that are most endangered. Listing the parrot on Appendix I means that Cites prohibits international trade in them “except when the purpose of the import is not commercial, for instance for scientific research.”

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