Parrot By-Catch

Baba Bondebo catches bats to supplement his family’s diet at their garden plot. 

The fruit bat, Eidolon helvum, is frequently caught.

Their agricultural fields of manioc, rice, and corn are 11 km walk from their house in Kindu, too far to walk out and back every day when there is planting, weeding, and birds must be chased away.  Therefore, they have a small mud brick house at the site and Bondebo has two nets for catching bats; the nets are the same as fishing nets.

Baba Bondebo and his son, Prince, in front of their field-house.

Prince, helps his father to untangle bats caught in their nets.

On Saturday Bondebo came to see Ibrahim, at his home.  Ibra is the parrot keeper at the P3M office in Kindu, where parrots are stabilized after the trauma of capture and transport. 

Ibra at work. Here he is weighing a parrot in a tight mesh bag with assistant keeper, Bijoux.

“A parrot flew into our bat nets” Bondebo told Ibra.  He had heard on the radio that catching parrots was illegal; all captured parrots should be turned into the authorities.

From left: Papa Bondebo, his son, Prince, and Ibrahim in hat.

We, of the P3M project, were pleased: the news was getting out, parrots are seen as special.

Bondebo brought the parrot to the P3M office in Kindu.

Ibra accompanied Baba Bondebo and his son, Prince, when they brought the parrot to our office and Kindu-level holding pens.  There were already 22 other parrots; most ready to move to PCC, the Dingi rehabilitation and release center.

The parrot was brought in the bottom of a much-used gunny sack.

The initial examination, however, showed that the new parrot was missing both tail feathers and wing feathers.  It had been seriously abused.

The very first examination showed it had had many feathers wrenched from the wings and the tail.

John and Ibra put on a numbered leg band — the parrot is now Green 249 in our books. They also treated it for feather mites.

We sent Ibrahim back to the farm plot for more information.  Bondebo took him to the net where Green 249 was caught; wing feathers were on the ground. 

They explained that they didn’t want Green 249 to fly away, so they pulled the flight feathers.

The tail feathers were another case.  The red tail feathers have monetary value for their purported powers.  Back at their house, Bondebo produced a few tail feathers, others had apparently already been sold.

The recovered feathers laid out on a piece of cardboard, showed what Green 249 endured after capture.

We revised our history of Green 249’s capture.  We now suppose Bondebo had untangled the parrot from the net with the intention to profit from it; but then considering the numerous public announcements was afraid he might be turned in and decided to contact Ibra instead.

So be it.

Green 249 is now slowly recovering in its cage.

For three days Green 249 did not eat.  But now, under Ibrahim’s care it has started to eat some oil palm nuts and peanuts.  Most interesting it is eating the seeds of munara (Cassia siamea). 

Munara planted along the border of Bondebo’s garden plots.

Bondebo explained that Green 249 flew into the net from the adjacent Cassia tree where parrots regularly come to eat the seeds.  Ibra immediately collected munara seed pods; all of the parrots are eating them enthusiastically.

Parrots in Ibra’s care eating the munara seeds out of their pods.

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