Position: Overpopulation and Trade
As long as there are parrots in need of good, supportive homes, then in some ways we have a parrot ‘overpopulation’ problem. This has been the case for decades, and the founder of the World Parrot Trust, Mike Reynolds, was already aware of this issue and speaking out about it in the 1960’s.
In the past ten years, a large number of groups have formed, primarily in the UK and USA, with the primary goal of solving this problem in various ways, including locating birds in need, educating their owners about improving their standards of care, identifying new and better homes for birds, and providing care for birds for either the short term, or indefinitely.
What do we at the Trust do to help?
Just as we all must make choices about our time and efforts as an individual, we must do the same at the Trust. With regard to parrot welfare, we feel at this time that we are able to do the most for the largest number of parrots by focusing our expertise and resources on the wild parrot trade, both legal and illegal, around the world. Although it is unrealistic to hope for successes on the scale of the EU import ban to come along every year – changes which spare millions of wild birds – there is still a great deal of trade involving tens of thousands of wild parrots annually. Focusing our attention on the major exporter and importer nations is by far the most effective way we feel we can make a significant difference for parrots and their welfare. WPT also encourages the adoption and re-homing of parrots from sanctuaries, to help alleviate the problem of overcrowding in these rescue facilities. WPT does a lot of educational work as well, both in developed and developing countries, to raise awareness about parrots in captivity, their proper care, and the huge commitment involved in taking responsibility for one of these birds.
While there remains a lot of work to be done, there is now a great deal more understanding about these issues than there was even five or ten years ago. The Trust remains committed to advocating and working for the welfare of parrots.