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WPT calls for action to end harmful trade in wildlife

World Parrot Trust - Staff | Apr 21, 2020


The world is waking up to the risks posed by the global trade in wildlife in spreading infectious diseases around the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every part of our lives with devastating consequences. It appears likely that the COVID-19 pandemic originated in an animal market in China. Experts have been warning for decades of the risks posed by the global wildlife trade but right now this practice is under scrutiny as never before. 

Diseases spread by the wildlife trade don’t only affect people, they also affect parrots. A recent study by WPT and collaborators revealed how Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease virus has spread to wild parrot populations around the world putting already threatened species at even greater risk. Investigations into the trade in West Africa found the virus circulating among wild parrots in legal and illegal trade trade destined for global markets. Because of these infections, these parrots could not be returned to the wild. Read more here and here.

Now, more than ever, it's vital that the global community unites in effective action to address the risks posed by the global wildlife trade. This week WPT has joined calls for a number of actions by the global community including:

  • Signing an open letter to the World Health Organisation calling on it to take action to recognise its role in mitigating the global health risks posed by the wildlife trade. Read more here
  • Joining the 'Coalition to End the Trade' which calls for action from the global community to reduce consumer demand, close commercial supply chains and actively monitor for pathogens. Read more here.

At the World Parrot Trust we’ve been working to end the harmful trade in wild parrots for 30 years, supporting communities to protect their parrots, investigating trade to understand its drivers and impacts and advocating for effective well-informed policy. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can be assured we’ll continue the fight. 

Timneh parrots in illegal trade in West Africa (credit Rowan Martin/WPT)
Timneh parrots in illegal trade in West Africa (© Rowan Martin/WPT)

Wild ring-necked parakeets housed in the legal trade in West Africa (© WARA)