On May 28th 65 parrots were confiscated approximately 10 km north of Kindu in Nyonge, a small village on the edge of the Congo River in Maniema Province. These birds were collected from the wild in defiance of a law that was repeatedly communicated to the public and had already been enforced several times. Obviously the demand is high and the rewards are worth the risk.
Recent 2016 history:
CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) : In January 2016 at its 65th the decision of the standing committee was a recommendation that adhering countries “suspend commercial trade “ of African Grey Parrot from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Maniema Province: The governor, recognizing that Maniema was an important hub for the illegal trade, prolonged the annual closed capture season in February 2016. He declared all commerce of grey parrots in the Province illegal indefinitely.
Kindu, capital of Maniema province: In February over 400 parrots, destined for Byart Birds, taken in a single bust.
Kisangani reports over a thousand parrots shipped downstream from Maniema on the Congo River during the month of march. The airport in Kindu is closed to parrot transport, not so in Kisangani.
In March and April the Environmental Ministry in Maniema, supported by World Parrot Trust, undertook a major campaign on the radio to publicize the illegality of parrot captures. It also sent delegations to major collecting points. Captured birds were again confiscated.
Parrot holding pens are empty in Kindu. Parrot crates no longer pass through the airport. But less than 10 km downriver a holding pen is discovered. How many more are hidden along the banks of the Congo River? A barge heading towards Ubundu and Kisangani will be hailed; the birds put on board. Many will die, but the profit is still worth it. What does it take to discourage this trade? Is it even possible as long as the markets exist and the price is high? Maniema won’t give up, BUT will it be enough? If an international band won’t close markets – what will?