So it's time to tell you all whole story about the parrots...
On Saturday afternoon at about four o'clock, we got a phone call from the ICCN that they had confiscated African grey parrots in the airport of Kavumu, which is the airport for Bukavu and is situated only 6km from Lwiro. There were 6 cages all weighing in at about 50kg!
There is a little bit of back story to this though. Last week the governor of South Kivu was here in Lwiro in a seminar in the research center. So before his arrival the chief of police in the area came to the sanctuary to check the security. The staff used the usual sensibilization program and told him about the illegal hunting and trade in animals, and that these animals are the treasures of Congo and should be looked after. He then mentioned that there was something strange going on with animals in the Kavumu airport... So he was the one calling the ICCN when he discovered the parrots. The ICCN arrived, but they might not have been able to stop the trafficker if it wasn't for the Governor that was at that moment leaving Lwiro on his way back to Bukavu. He was called and he stopped in the airport and did the confiscation himself! He has formerly worked in conservation so he knows a lot and obviously cares! The parrots came from the neighbor province of Maniema, and were destined to a pet trader in Singapore.
So at six o'clock in the evening the cars came with the six cages full of parrots. As you know we don't have a lot of space here, and all cages is occupied by chimps or monkeys, so or only solution was to put them in the education room, just to get them out of the transport crates... We had to take them out one by one, counted them in the process, and made sure they had lots of water available. They were 523 African gray parrots, but 5 were already dead.
The next morning we gave them food, and then started the process of checking everyone’s wings. To stop them flying they had tied one feather of the outer wing around a few others, some on one wing some on both, and a lucky few on none. Some wings were a mess, and these birds will have to grow new feathers to be able to fly, and on some only the one feather that was used to tie the others was destroyed.
The ICCN and the CRSN- research center, went to work on building an enclosure for them in the arches of the walkway of the center and doing a great job. And yesterday, Tuesday, we moved all the parrots to a more appropriate enclosure there, this will also be expanded.
The plan is to release all the parrots, but they need to be fit and able to fly well.
As of Wednesday morning 26 parrots are dead... We hope there won't be too many more... But we have heard that it is normal that at least 20% die.. we will see..
But thank you all for your support so far, it's been amazing!
And a special thanks to PASA for helping us a lot!
The cages arriving
The parrots in the cages
At night after removing the parrots from the cages, some went back in, but at least it was not as crowded.
Temporary housing in the education room the next day.
Checking the wings and clipping the knots