Tuesday, December 1

Poached African grey parrots smuggled on Turkish Airlines flights

Our investigation

Our shocking video shows a poacher using a lure bird to trap wild African grey parrots.

Illegally trafficked African grey parrots:

  • have their flight feathers brutally chopped off to prevent them from escaping
  • are crammed into small, dirty containers
  • have a mortality rate of 66% before they even reach transport planes
  • suffer a life of misery, if they survive the journey

Because of this thriving illicit trade, wild African grey parrot populations have declined by as much as 99% in some areas.

Turkish Airlines must do more

Our investigation reveals Turkish Airlines and its subsidiary, Turkish Cargo, are enabling the exotic pet trade, despite making commitments to combat wildlife trafficking.

Turkish Airlines has been used to illegally transport wild-caught African grey parrots on flights from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Nigeria and Mali to countries in the Middle East, western and southern Asia.

As recently as August 18, 2018, African grey parrots were transported by Turkish Airlines between DRC’s capital city, Kinshasa, and Kuwait via Istanbul, with more than 60 found dead on arrival.

Help protect wildlife

We are asking Turkish Airlines to stop transporting all birds until it can ensure traffickers aren’t smuggling African grey parrots and other protected wildlife on its planes.

EDIT: Our Turkish Airlines petition is now closed. However, you can sign our pledge to commit to not purchasing wildlife as as pet.

The wild pet pledge

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Poached African grey parrots suffer terribly

The cruel exotic pet trade

Millions of wild animals are being captured from their habitats or born into captivity to be sold into the exotic pet trade. This multibillion-dollar industry is having a devastating impact on wildlife populations.

Whether traded legally or illegally, keeping wild animals as pets is cruel.

The journey they endure is perilous; they are stuffed in crates, often unable to breathe properly or move and most of these wild animals will sadly suffocate, starve or succumb to diseases in transit.

A lifetime of suffering

Once they are in people’s homes, there is no realistic way to replicate the space and freedom these animals would have in the wild.

African grey parrots are also highly social, nesting in very large flocks. They’ll never be happy spending their lives in cages.

Many animals are kept in spaces vastly smaller than their natural habitats. Also, despite a pet owner’s best intentions and efforts, they don’t receive the correct nutrition.

Our research reveals that:

  • Three out of four parrots captured in Mexico to be sold as pets die before reaching a buyer
  • Nearly one third of all wild animals die during transportation

Devastating consequences

Cassandra Koenen, our global head of campaign – Wildlife. Not pets, says: “Poaching animals for the exotic pet trade is happening on an industrial scale with devastating consequences. Worse still is that the illegal and illicit elements of the trade are often aided by government corruption and inadequate enforcement.

“Animals suffer at every step of the journey destined to people’s homes: from capture to handling, transport, holding, breeding, sale and the lifetime of captivity in the home.”

Choose a domesticated animal

Most people buy exotic pets because they love animals – but any wild animal in the exotic pet trade experiences suffering.  

We are urging people to not buy, own or breed a wild animal as a pet. A life in captivity is a world away from a life in the wild.

African grey parrots are not suited to life as a pet: the wild animals often pull out their feathers due to stress and boredom when kept in captivity

Take action for wildlife

Turkish Airlines must stop transporting birds until it can be sure African grey parrots are being protected.

Sign our petition to help move Turkish Airlines to do the right thing.

EDIT: Our Turkish Airlines petition is now closed. However, you can sign our pledge to commit to not purchasing wildlife as as pet.

The wild pet pledge

Pledge now
Pledge now

Indicates required field
– Select –
Afghanistan

Aland Islands

Albania

Algeria

American Samoa

Andorra

Angola

Anguilla

Antarctica

Antigua and Barbuda

Argentina

Armenia

Aruba

Australia

Austria

Azerbaijan

Bahamas

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Barbados

Belarus

Belgium

Belize

Benin

Bermuda

Bhutan

Bolivia

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Botswana

Bouvet Island

Brazil

British Indian Ocean Territory

British Virgin Islands

Brunei

Bulgaria

Burkina Faso

Burundi

Cambodia

Cameroon

Canada

Cape Verde

Caribbean Netherlands

Cayman Islands

Central African Republic

Chad

Chile

China

Christmas Island

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Colombia

Comoros

Congo (Brazzaville)

Congo (Kinshasa)

Cook Islands

Costa Rica

Croatia

Cuba

Curaçao

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Djibouti

Dominica

Dominican Republic

Ecuador

Egypt

El Salvador

Equatorial Guinea

Eritrea

Estonia

Ethiopia

Falkland Islands

Faroe Islands

Fiji

Finland

France

French Guiana

French Polynesia

French Southern Territories

Gabon

Gambia

Georgia

Germany

Ghana

Gibraltar

Greece

Greenland

Grenada

Guadeloupe

Guam

Guatemala

Guernsey

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Guyana

Haiti

Heard Island and McDonald Islands

Honduras

Hong Kong S.A.R., China

Hungary

Iceland

India

Indonesia

Iran

Iraq

Ireland

Isle of Man

Israel

Italy

Ivory Coast

Jamaica

Japan

Jersey

Jordan

Kazakhstan

Kenya

Kiribati

Kuwait

Kyrgyzstan

Laos

Latvia

Lebanon

Lesotho

Liberia

Libya

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Macao S.A.R., China

Macedonia

Madagascar

Malawi

Malaysia

Maldives

Mali

Malta

Marshall Islands

Martinique

Mauritania

Mauritius

Mayotte

Mexico

Micronesia

Moldova

Monaco

Mongolia

Montenegro

Montserrat

Morocco

Mozambique

Myanmar

Namibia

Nauru

Nepal

Netherlands

Netherlands Antilles

New Caledonia

New Zealand

Nicaragua

Niger

Nigeria

Niue

Norfolk Island

Northern Mariana Islands

North Korea

Norway

Oman

Pakistan

Palau

Palestinian Territory

Panama

Papua New Guinea

Paraguay

Peru

Philippines

Pitcairn

Poland

Portugal

Puerto Rico

Qatar

Reunion

Romania

Russia

Rwanda

Saint Barthélemy

Saint Helena

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Martin (French part)

Saint Pierre and Miquelon

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Samoa

San Marino

Sao Tome and Principe

Saudi Arabia

Senegal

Serbia

Seychelles

Sierra Leone

Singapore

Sint Maarten

Slovakia

Slovenia

Solomon Islands

Somalia

South Africa

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

South Korea

South Sudan

Spain

Sri Lanka

Sudan

Suriname

Svalbard and Jan Mayen

Swaziland

Sweden

Switzerland

Syria

Taiwan

Tajikistan

Tanzania

Thailand

Timor-Leste

Togo

Tokelau

Tonga

Trinidad and Tobago

Tunisia

Turkey

Turkmenistan

Turks and Caicos Islands

Tuvalu

U.S. Virgin Islands

Uganda

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom

United States

United States Minor Outlying Islands

Uruguay

Uzbekistan

Vanuatu

Vatican

Venezuela

Vietnam

Wallis and Futuna

Western Sahara

Yemen

Zambia

Zimbabwe

You must be over 18 to sign the pledge

World Animal Protection will not sell or swap your information with any third party. If you’d like to stop hearing from us, or change the way we communicate, please email info@worldanimalprotection.org. For information on how we use your details, and how we keep your details safe, please read our privacy policy.