Dr.Steve Boyes started working with the World Parrot Trust on issues related to the wild-caught bird trade in South Africa in 2006 while finishing up his PhD during a visit to the University of California, Berkeley. Steve is very excited at this opportunity as he doesn't think we are doing enough yet to ensure the persistence of healthy flocks of wild African parrots.
In 2008, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) revealed that deforestation rates in Africa are twice that of the rest of the world. A review of Meyer’s Parrot (Africa's most abundant and widespread parrot) range states revealed that 12 out of 18 range states have already undergone significant habitat loss with deforestation rates of 15% and above not uncommon and several countries (e.g. Kenya and Malawi) having less than 1% of their original forest cover remaining. In addition, most records on the population status of African parrots pre-date the chronic loss of forest cover across the continent.
For WPT Africa, we will be looking at protecting wild African Greys from illegal capture, surveying the status of all African parrot populations over the coming years, and ensuring that trade in wild-caught African parrots does not compound the impacts of deforestation and persecution as a crop pest.