African grey parrots are incredibly intelligent, extremely sensitive, social, express emotion and have an extraordinary ability to learn and imitate human speech. These unique characteristics have resulted in the species being hugely desired as pets around the world. Sadly, this makes the African grey parrot one of the most traded and illegally trafficked birds worldwide.
Every year thousands of individuals, mostly adults, are illegally captured in Cameroon and elsewhere in the forests of equatorial Africa, and sold at a rate so high that the total wild population could be reducing by 21% each year! In 2016, the African Grey Parrot was officially upgraded to the status of Endangered (IUCN) due to the rapid decrease of the species' wild populations.
The Limbe Wildlife Centre is the only project in Cameroon dedicated to the
survival of the endangered African grey parrots, providing high-quality care and rehabilitation to 400-500 individuals per year, for a minimal budget of EUR 45,000 per year. In October 2019, Pandrillus built the first rehabilitation
aviary (730m3) specially designed for the African grey parrots.
Sadly, there is currently no sound release programme in Cameroon, so to fill this gap, we will establish and implement a standard high-quality and efficient soft-
release methodology. This project is currently in the pilot phase of the national program for the rehabilitation and release of African grey parrot victims of poaching and illegal trafficking, and will effectively support the fight against parrot trafficking.
Our pilot soft-release program consists of 3 different components:
1. After a 6 - 9 month rehabilitation period at the centre, the use of a soft release aviary (3x3x6m3) will be tested in the Limbe Botanical gardens, of which the construction works out at USD 2300. For the first 2 weeks, the parrots will remain in the aviary. Then, we will open the hatch so that each individual can explore the surrounding environment and continue to have access to food in the aviary until they need. Hence we can continue to monitor them directly as long as they still use the aviary.
2. Implement post-release monitoring using GPS tracking technology to conduct ecological research and set a targeted surveillance and protection strategy, which will provide their live location for several months. These gps trackers, together with the post-release monitoring comes at a cost of USD 22 300 , which would help us monitor each flock after release. The space used by the released birds will provide extremely valuable ecological data that will help improve their in-situ conservation. This will be the first time ever African grey parrots are equipped with such technology.
3. Run a public sensitization campaign to inform, inspire and transform attitudes
toward conservation: “STOP ILLEGAL PET TRADE”; #ProtectWildlife. The campaign will include press releases, radio, TV, newspapers articles and the creation of a large billboard by Toh Bright, a 25-year-old Anglophone Cameroonian award-winning visual artist and writer. This education programmes is worth USD 11 200, and a very important aspect to help involve our surrounding communities and educate them about the importance of protecting our wildlife, and the efforts of the Limbe Wildlife Centre to protect them.
This soft-release program is aimed to validate the soft-release methodology and can be replicated at a national scale in various protected areas as part of the African grey parrot national rehabilitation and release program. This is a crucial project to help restore wild populations and save the species from extinction.
With great efforts, we have already collected about half of the total sum needed, but still have quite a bit to go. Therefore, your support is vital for the establishment of the soft-release aviary, the post release monitoring and the education campaign. Without your help, the conservation and protection of this endangered species would be impossible, and the survival of the African Grey Parrots would be at risk. Every bit helps, and we thank you in advance for your never ending support.
For more information on the daily routines, care and veterinary checks performed on our parrots, please watch our mini series and delve into the lives of our African Grey Parrots at the Limbe Wildlife Centre!
- Forest Moon
- Barry Malkin
- Juliana Rocha Ribeiro
Organizer and beneficiary
Limbe Wildlife Centre
New York, NY
Limbe Wildlife Centre