Working to end the wild bird trade
and return parrots to the wild


Where We Work

Diverse both in geography and scope, WPT provides financial, logistical and technical assistance to an increasing number of front-line partners working to rescue wild birds caught in trade in developing countries where access to resources and knowledge is extremely limited. The assistance provided is essential for expanding existing facilities (often a limiting factor in the number of birds that can be saved) as well as ensuring sufficient access to food and medical care. Below is a region-by-region overview of WPT's partners.

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-- Asia --


For several years the World Parrot Trust has collaborated with ProFauna Indonesia to persuade the Indonesian government to pass legislation to ban the legal export of wild caught birds, and to study and document trade occurring in the region of Western Papua and deliver the data to governing officials. With funding support from the FlyFree program, in early August 2010, ProFauna aided government Forestry Officers in confiscating 27 Chattering Lories (Lorius garrulus) from a bird dealer who was attempting to smuggle the birds out of the country. After having being quarantined and medically assessed by a veterinarian, the birds were released in the Halmahera forest in North Maluku.

More recently WPT has partnered with the Indonesian Parrot Project (IPP) and Konservasi Kakatua Indonesia (KKI) to further a conservation program for the critically endangered Yellow-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea). WPT also supported local initiatives for the conservation of Mitchell's Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus mitchelli). Read more:

PsittaScene Aug. 2007

(Click to view issue)

PsittaScene Nov. 2004

(Click to view issue)


In the Southeast region of Andhra Pradesh, the Visakha SPCA operates an active program to confiscate birds used by fortune-teller street vendors. The WPT supports their work to rehabilitate and release the birds, and is encouraging expansion of their confiscation efforts. Further to the north, new partners were added to our network when WPT provided parrot care guidance and financial support for two separate efforts to rescue over 100 unfledged Alexandrine Parakeets (Psittacula eupatria) illegally captured for the pet trade in the Ahmedabad region of India.


The WPT began working with Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN) to research the nature of the wild-caught bird trade in the country. The study found that increasing use of birds by people for pets, meat and religious purposes are the main reasons for the trade in Nepal. A report of the research was presented a workshop which stressed the need for the formation of a regional working group to effectively control the illegal trade and stated its urgency due to the rise in number of birds traded in this part of the world. Government officials present in the workshop welcomed this regional initiative and expressed commitment to support it.

In August 2011 several new strategies were deployed to further disrupt trade in this region. In addition to encouraging the monitoring of market areas and checkpoints, and facilitating the confiscation and release of captured birds, other activities will focus on several educational elements. These will include the publishing of leaflets and a public notice in the national daily newspaper, assisting in the development of a radio program highlighting the issue of illegal bird trade, and organizing educational presentations to journalists, government authorities and relevant institutions.

-- Africa --


The ongoing efforts of the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA) and the Limbe Wildlife Center (LWC) over the past several years have led to the confiscation of over 3,490 Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus) from seven illegal shipments since 2007. Through FlyFree, the WPT has provided emergency funding, guidance on parrot husbandry, logistical and veterinary support to assist with the care, rehabilitation and release of these birds. Despite taking many months, and in some cases years to recover from their ordeal, to date over 2000 of the birds have been successfully rehabilitated and returned to the wild, with approximately 500 individuals remaining in rehabilitation.

Read more:
WPT's Save the Greys Fund »

Democratic Republic of the Congo:

In mid-September 2010, authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo confiscated over 500 African Grey parrots at the Kavumu airport. The shipment was en route to Singapore with forged CITES permits. Upon receiving an urgent call for assistance, the WPT dispatched an international veterinary team to travel (at great personal risk) to the area where the birds were located at the Lwiro Primate Sanctuary to provide immediate assistance, bringing much needed resources and guidance for the birds' rehabilitation and eventual release.

Over several months the rehabilitative efforts progressed well until armed guards, claiming to be acting with the full authority of wildlife officers, arrived unannounced at the facility and ordered that the birds be caught up and moved to the facilities of a bird trader known to work in the region. Despite the protests of staff at the sanctuary, the World Parrot Trust, and an internal league of primate sanctuaries, little could be done to save the birds from this unfortunate fate.


With the support of FlyFree funders, WPT sponsored the attendance of Dr. Joash Kibagendi Kerosi at an IATA and CITES training course in Geneva, Switzerland in the summer of 2009. Dr. Kerosi, a veterinarian who is employed by the Nairobi Airport, was able to immediately utilize his training to identify an illegal shipment of 35 Grey Parrots. Ongoing efforts to rehabilitate and eventually release these birds are being made by WPT, the Kenyan Wildlife Service, Kenyan SPCA and Born Free Foundation.

In the spring of 2010, the WPT co-sponsored a workshop of agencies and representatives in attendance from the National Museums of Kenya, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals, Kenya Airports Authority, Nature Kenya, Kakamega Environmental Education Programme. The purpose of the meeting was to deliberate on rehabilitative action that could save the lives of Grey Parrots impounded in transit and to harmonize collaboration between government agencies that are in charge of the welfare of animals in Kenya.

South Africa:

Encouraging the adoption of legislative reform intended to protect wildlife has always been a cornerstone of WPT's efforts to eliminate the wild caught bird trade. This year saw a continuation of those efforts on a regional basis with new efforts being launched in South Africa. A tragic event precipitated these actions: in late 2010, most of a shipment of over 700 African Grey parrots perished during a flight to Durban in South Africa from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Although the circumstances surrounding their deaths remain a mystery, the WPT was able to utilize this disastrous event as an opportunity to generate significant media coverage within the country and initiate conversations with regional air carriers and government officials regarding regulations and issues surrounding the bird trade. Authorities were also alarmed to learn of the new trade data brought forward by the WPT highlighting the over-harvesting of parrots in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a primary source for wild-caught parrots in the region. Subsequent media attention led to the implementation of a temporary ban on the importation of all birds into South Africa – an important step towards ending the wild bird trade within the country.


In early 2011 the WPT was also called upon to assist the Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) in their efforts to deal with 265 Grey parrots confiscated at the country’s border. Proper husbandry and technical guidance were provided by the Trust as well as funding for facilities, food and medical attention. Of the original group, 204 of the surviving birds were successfully rehabilitated and later released to protected forest areas in August of this year, with support ongoing for several dozen birds not yet fully recovered. Following on the success of the rescue and release of the Grey parrots, UWEC initiated a national Parrot Conservation Education Program in the summer of 2011 with support from FlyFree. Although still in its formative stages, efforts will include the production and distribution of education materials, education workshops, and meetings with key individuals and local groups.

-- Central and South America --


In the El Condor region of Argentina, WPT has partnered with local wildlife agencies and researchers to produce informational booklets and posters profiling parrot species frequently found in trade and which encourage school-aged children and local residents to recognize, respect and develop empathy towards the unique parrot populations living in the region.


Associação Bichos da Mata (ABM) has been actively working on the confiscation, rehabilitation and release of wild-caught Brazilian parrots for several years, with WPT aiding on many of them. On March 8th 2010, the wildlife authority for the state of São Paulo, ABM and WPT co-hosted a workshop in São Paulo to bring together all those involved in rehabilitating and releasing parrots to present their work, and share their knowledge and ideas.

Also in late 2010 148 Blue-fronted Amazon (Amazona aestiva) chicks were confiscated from the illegal trade. The Brazilian NGO SOS FAUNA provided the first emergency care; the chicks were later transferred to their Rescue Center in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul (CRAS-MS). The WPT contributed financial support for this emergency and will fund ongoing efforts to rehabilitate the birds, and encourage further enforcement efforts to crack down on the illegal wildlife trade.

Later in 2011, the WPT was able to assist SOS Fauna in the rescue and rehabilitation of 300+ Blue-fronted Amazons (Amazon aestivea) 260 Cactus Conures (Aratinga cactorum) and 8 Blue and Yellow Macaws (Ara ararauna) Most of the birds were unfledged chicks. WPT's Dr. Andre Saidenberg has provided medical assistance, provided feeding formula for rapidly growing chicks, and latex gloves and syringes to ensure an adherence to hygiene protocols. Subsequent support has aided the construction of outdoor flights to assist in conditioning the birds for life in the wild. To date only 38 of the birds have been released with more substantial progress expected in the future.

Elsewhere in Brazil, the WPT teamed up with R3 Animal and another local NGO in two separate locations to assist with the rehabilitation of long-term captive Vinaceous Amazon parrots (Amazona vinacea), which are an endangered species known to exist only in the massively deforested area of the Atlantic coastal rain forests. In collaboration with these groups WPT was able to facilitate the release of 13 birds into a national park in southern Brazil, an important step given that the birds are believed to be extinct in this area. Collaborators for this effort included the Santa Catarina University (UFSC), IBAMA, CEMAVE/ICMBio, Santa Catarina Environmental Police, University of Sao Paulo (Preventive Veterinary Medicine Department) and FAPESP. WPT provided funding for health exams, veterinary and technical advice and the equipment for radio telemetry.

Read more:

PsittaScene excerpt:
Back to Nature - May 2010

(Click to view issue)


For several years the Belize Bird Rescue (BBR) has been securing the rehabilitation and release of confiscated Amazons parrots, conures, and other wildlife. BBR has also been supporting environmental education programs for school-aged children throughout the country of Belize. WPT began its support of their efforts in mid 2009 by providing leg bands for bird identification and continued to expand its support in 2010.

In 2011 efforts got underway for the production of public awareness posters created in conjunction with the country's forestry department, WPT and BBR. The posters detail the illegalities of owning, capturing, buying, and selling parrots in the country, a consequence of the adoption of a re-write of the country's Wildlife Act currently being passed into legislation. This is a massive step forward in terms of regulating pet ownership within the country and will work in conjunction with a banding project intended on tracking the whereabouts of captive birds within the country.


With an estimated wild population in the low thousands, the Yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot (Amazona barbadensis) is vulnerable due to habitat loss, drought, predation and intense poaching. In association with the University of Sheffield in 2005 the WPT initiated research on these parrots. The Trust has assisted the government in developing and implementing an amnesty and registration program to account for all pet parrots on the island. Also, in early 2010, WPT supported the rehabilitation and release of 18 confiscated parrots.

At the beginning of July 2011, Echo, a long-time WPT collaborator located on Bonaire, received an emergency call for help from STINAPA (Stichting Nationale Parken Bonaire) to assist with a group of 112 parrot chicks seized from an illegal trader: Yellow-shouldered Amazons (Amazona barbadensis) and Brown-throated Conures (Aratinga pertinax xanthogenia), both native to Bonaire were bound for Curacao to be sold into the pet trade. Many were close to perishing, and one had already died. Echo staff quickly began caring for the parrots and worked through the night by lantern to save them. The birds were in a terrible state, desperately needing food after being kept in appalling conditions for several days. Out of the 112 birds about 90 chicks required one-on-one, round the clock care for more than a month. Thanks in large part to the diligence of the Echo team virtually all of the parrot chicks survived and the first group is now being prepared for release to the wild. WPT has provided technical guidance for rescue efforts as well as financial support for their release.

Read more:
Yellow-shouldered Amazon »

Costa Rica:

The WPT has been collaborating with Dr. Timothy Wright and his students from New Mexico State University in their educational outreach efforts in Costa Rica. There the team works with schools located in the range of the Yellow-naped Amazon parrot (Amazona auropalliata) to create awareness and assist with reducing poaching pressure on these threatened birds.

Further south in Costa Rica, the WPT has established a collaboration with the ARA Project, a progressive non-profit organization working to re-establish the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) and Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus) to much of their former range within the country. The ARA Project over the past 7-years has pioneered an in-country program that combines rehabilitation, captive-breeding and release efforts. To date more than 90 Scarlet Macaws have been returned to the wild (almost certainly the most successful effort to date for this species), with long-term survival rates exceeding 90%. The ARA Project began releasing Great Green Macaws in the fall of 2011. The WPT has provided support for bird care and capacity building with a particular emphasis on release efforts.

Read more:

PsittaScene May 2009

(Click to view issue)

PsittaScene Aug. 2005

(Click to view issue)


In 2011 WPT's efforts in South America expanded into Ecuador, an important new region known for its wide diversity of naturally occurring parrots and also its active trade in wild birds within its borders. There WPT's in-country partner, the Jambali Center, cares for 100+ parrots covering 20 different species, the most numerous of which are Red-masked Conures (Aratinga erythrogenys), Red-lored Amazon parrots (Amazona autumnalis) and an endangered subspecies of the Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus guayaquilensis).

Support has been provided for the development and expansion of existing facilities to better accommodate the birds as well as providing logistical support and guidance for rehabilitation and release efforts. To date, 20 Red-masked Conures have been moved to new flights and 10 of them have been released. Upon establishing consistent and successful release protocols future efforts will focus on the Great Green Macaws, an important step in this endangered species' recovery. These rescue and release efforts will compliment broader initiatives taken with other international groups, intended to preserve the species, and its habitat, throughout key parts of its range.


In 2011 significant progress was achieved in increasing awareness for the plight of the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao), a heavily traded species in most of Central America. The rehabilitation of five Scarlet Macaws, begun in late 2010, occurred at Copan National Park, and a subsequent (and widely publicized) release of the birds took place in the summer of 2011 at an event attended by the Vice-president of the country. In-country collaborators included dozens of individuals, private businesses, NGOs, and government officials as well as the WPT, which provided funding, logistical support, in-person guidance for husbandry and release efforts. Future releases are expected in 2012.

Concurrent to release efforts for the five Scarlet Macaws at Copan, the WPT assisted in the development and deployment of an 8-part educational program reaching hundreds of children at local area schools. Additional educational efforts were begun within the national park with prominent signage used to educate thousands of park visitors on the significance of the bird and rehabilitation efforts. Work on the project began in late 2010 with educational materials being delivered to schools as well as signage being placed at the park in early 2011.


Working in conjunction with several NGOs in September 2001, the WPT was able to support the release of 21 Yellow-headed Parrots (Amazona oratrix) and 14 Green-cheeked Parrots (also known as Red-crowned) (Amazona viridigenalis) into the wild at Tantoyuca, Veracruz, an area of northeast Mexico. Most of the birds had been illegally caught by trappers and were then confiscated by the Mexican Government.
Until recently, this country remained one of the most active in the region in both illegal and legally sanctioned trade in wild caught birds.

Recent efforts by WPT and its partners successfully convinced the federal government to adopt legislation to ban the import and export of all wild caught parrots, saving tens of thousands of birds each year. In-country trade still occurs however; recent confiscations of illegal shipments have involved hundreds of parrots. One such shipment contained 377 Orange-fronted Parakeets (Aratinga canicularis), confiscated from bird traders by the Mexican Federal Environmental Protection Agency (PROFEPA) in the region of Oaxaca. WPT was contacted to provide medicine, guidance and other means of support, which were immediately dispatched. In spite of the best efforts being made by of the in-country teams charged with their care, slightly more than half the birds perished and only 162 were deemed suitable for release.

Read more:

PsittaScene Aug. 2003

(Click to view issue)

-- European Union --

EU Trade Ban:

With the backing of tens of thousands of supporters through letters and signed petitions, our detailed reports, the coalition we built with 230 like-minded organizations, the WPT persuaded the European Union to ban the import of all wild caught birds in 2007. This one act eliminated more than 90% of the legal market, and using conservative estimates this ban has now spared some sixteen million wild birds.

Read more:
EU Trade Ban Campaign »

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Field Partners

ARA Project

Asociacion Copan

Bird Conservation Nepal

Belize Bird Rescue



Fundación Ecológica Rescate Jambelí

Fundación del Río



Lwiro Sanctuary

ProFauna Indonesia

SOS Fauna

Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue and Education Centre

R3 Animal Rescue





Paradise Park


Pro Wildlife



Calgary Parrot Club


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