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 in the wild to forage for food.

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

African grey parrots sold into the pet trade originate from West Africa to Congo. While the parrot you see for sale online or in the pet shop may have been born in captivity, its parents or grandparents will have been caught or captured from the wild. Offspring of wild animals are still wild animals and retain their natural instincts and needs.

Despite this, over half of Canadians believe birds are acceptable pets.[4] And they would be forgiven for thinking so with the pet industry providing little information about their unique needs, complex behaviors and the high level of care required to look after these animals.

With a lifespan of more than 60 years, parrots can easily outlive their owners and it is common for them to be rehomed repeatedly in their lifetime. Their highly socialized nature means that when they are alone in a cage, they can suffer from isolation and boredom often resorting to feather plucking, self-mutilation and constant screaming. This difficult behavior leads many owners to surrender their parrot, continuing the cycle of pain for these animals.

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.

[4] 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 animal is sold in a pet shop, it doesn’t mean an animal is domesticated. We encourage everyone to appreciate and respect wild animals where they belong – in the wild.

Join our pledge to commit to keeping wild animals in the wild

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

Pledge to never buy a wild animal as a pet

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