Dozens of parrots saved from illegal wildlife trade returned to wild in Democratic Republic of Congo

It took months of rehab and weeks of adapting to their new home, but 68 African Grey Parrots rescued from the illegal wildlife trade are once again flying free.

Lwiro Primates, which is a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Democratic Republic of Congo, said Monday the birds have ben released in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, a vitally important conservation area in the eastern part of the country.

It’s considered a “soft release,” meaning the organization will keep supporting the birds with food for a time.

African Grey Parrots are protected species and their trade is illegal. Photo: Lwiro Primates/Facebook

“The trade-in wild parrots is an ongoing issue, trapping of wild parrots to supply the demand is devastating not only to wild populations but to the individual parrots as well,” the group explained.

Sixty-eight grey parrots were released to the wild after being saved from the illegal wildlife trade. Photo: Lwiro Primates/Facebook

“Sadly, the African grey has been severely affected by capture in the wild to meet international demand for pets, once widespread throughout much of Africa, they are threatened over much of their natural range,” Lwiro added.

World Parrot Trust, Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature ICCN and Ivan Carter’s Wildlife Conservation Alliance as well as the national park all helped facilitate the release.

“We love sharing good news from one of our ICWCA core project,” Carter posted on social media along with images of the newly freed birds.

In November, 2020, Lwiro Primates carried out its first soft release of African Grey Parrots in the country by returning 39 confiscated birds to the wild.

It was last December when the group took in 41 African grey parrots from Lomami National Park. It was already taking care of 118 parrots.

“This release represents a huge step forward in the commitment in DRC to turn around the problem of capture and trade of this species and can provide a model for conservation efforts elsewhere,” Lwiro said.

About the author

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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