IBAP (National Institute for Biodiversity and Protected Areas), the Coastal Planning Cabinet of Guinea-Bissau, Dr. Paulo Catry (ISPA – Instituto Universitário, Portugal), Dr. Davide De Guz, The Wara Conservation Project (SALF and GALF programmes), Save Our Species (SOS), ZooMarine Portugal, Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, Bridging Peace Foundation, Folk H Peterson Trust, MAVA, Explore Trees
Species suffering massive population declines as a result of trade
Heavy trapping and habitat loss are fueling population declines of the Timneh Parrot (Psittacus timneh) in many parts of West Africa.
Progress and outcomes: In early 2013 the World Parrot Trust received a report from the Guinea Application of Wildlife Law (GALF) of a group of confiscated birds in Guinea, some of which were Timneh Parrots. WPT sent veterinarian Dr. Davide de Guz to care for thirteen Timnehs, funding for the birds' care, and cameras for documentation of their recovery and release.
Since early 2014 WPT has been working with regional partners to further protect and document the species. Within the Bijagós islands UNESCO Biosphere reserve in Guinea-Bissau, community-based initiatives have involved employing former parrot poachers to monitor and guard nests. Nation-wide surveys have been conducted to determine population status and the scale of trapping and other threats. Investigations of illegal trade have been supported in Conakry, Guinea and Dakar, Senegal, both regional hubs for trade. In 2015 and 2016 more fieldwork, including surveys and nest box installation, took place. On October 2, 2016 after more than five years of collaboration with field partners, evidence was presented at the CoP17 (Conference of the Parties for CITES 17). Delegates voted by a wide margin to uplist both Grey and Timneh parrots to Appendix I, ending commercial trade in wild birds. In December 2016 IUCN uplisted the species to Endangered in the wild.
Focus of future work: Research has highlighted the importance of breeding areas within the João Vieira – Poilão National Park in Guinea-Bissau and our focus is to work with communities living within the national park to identify long-term solutions for the protection of these areas. Ongoing support for law enforcement in the region will diminish the threat of illegal trade.
World population: 100,000–500,000, decreasing.
Where found: Is endemic to the western parts of the moist Upper Guinea forests and bordering savannas of West Africa extending from the Bijagós islands of Guinea-Bissau eastwards through southern Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire.
History: The Timneh Parrot, or Psittacus timneh, is native to W Upper Guinea forests and savannas of West Africa, from Guinea-Bissau east through Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and S Mali east to at least 70 km east of the Bandama River in Côte d'Ivoire. High rates of trapping for the wild bird trade and habitat loss have caused heavy declines throughout the range of this species. The largest populations of Timnehs are thought be in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia. Counts completed in 1992 revealed a total population estimate of 120,000-259,000 individuals (Dändliker 1992). The species has vanished from the forests on and near Mt Nimba in Nimba County, Liberia; surveys conducted between 2008-2011 in the East Nimba Nature Reserve and nearby forest failed to find birds. Local people have also indicated that they have not seen the birds (B. Phalan and F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2012). In Gola Forest in Sierra Leone populations never seem to have been abundant historically (J. Lindsell and F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2012). Between 1982 and 2011, large numbers of the birds have been trapped: 191,837 wild-caught individuals were recorded in international trade (UNEP-WCMC 2012).
- Heavy trapping for the wild bird trade
- Habitat loss, up to three-quarters of forest cover in some cases
Ecology: Timneh Parrots are found in primary and secondary rainforest, forest edges and clearings, gallery forest, mangroves, savanna and cultivated land. Diet consists of a variety of seeds, nuts, fruits (including oil-palm) and berries. Birds will sometimes travel vast distances for food. They are generally seen in small, but vocal, flocks of a few dozen, usually not more.
- PsittaScene Vol. 28.2, Summer 2016
- PsittaScene Vol. 28.2, Summer 2016
- PsittaScene Vol. 27.4, Winter 2015
- PsittaScene Vol. 26.3, Autumn 2014
- PsittaScene Vol. 25.4, Winter 2013