Is that animal wild or domesticated?

Case study: Parrots – Wild at heart

A day in the life of a poached parrot

African grey parrots are incredible animals. They are highly social and are known to fly several kilometers each day to forage for food. They are among the most popular bird species kept in Europe, the USA and the Middle East.

A life alone in a cage is a stark contrast to life in the wild.

Wild African grey parrots live in Western and Central Africa. African grey parrots, like any other parrot you see for sale online or in the pet shop are wild animals. While they may have been born in captivity, their parents or grandparents have been caught from the wild. Offspring of wild animals are still wild animals and retain their natural instincts and needs.

Despite the wild nature of parrots, over half of Canadians believe this family of birds are acceptable pets.[5] They would be forgiven for thinking this because the pet industry provides little information about their unique needs, complex behaviours and the high level of care required to look after these animals.

With a lifespan of over 60 years, parrots can easily outlive their owners. Because of their long lifespan and wild nature, it is common for parrots to be rehomed repeatedly during their lifetime. Their highly socialized nature means that when they are alone in a cage, they will suffer from isolation and boredom often resorting to plucking their feathers out of their body (also known as self-mutilating behaviours) and constant screaming. This difficult behaviour leads many owners to surrender their parrot. With many bird sanctuaries already at capacity, countless parrots are at risk of a life of suffering in captivity.

Dr. Alix Wilson, an exotic pet veterinarian, cares for exotic animals, and told us about her experience treating parrots:

“I see badly cared for birds every single day. But every day I see birds whose owners love them dearly but aren’t taking proper care of them. They simply don’t know what they are taking on. And every day we are called by people who are wanting to rehome their birds.”

African grey parrots are among the most popular bird species kept in Europe, the USA and the Middle East. With many bird sanctuaries already at capacity, countless parrots are at risk of a life of suffering in captivity.

Sources

[5] World Animal Protection Brand Tracking, 2018.

What you can do

Pictured: Cats at a shelter we support

Consider adopting a domesticated pet instead of buying a wild animal. Even if an exotic wild animal is sold in a pet shop, it doesn’t mean the animal is domesticated or suitable as pet. We encourage everyone to appreciate wild animals where they belong – in the wild.

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Take action against the wildlife pet trade today by signing the pledge to never buy an exotic wild animal. Help us protect wildlife by keeping them where they belong. In the wild.

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