“In some countries, a lot of the birds used for breeding were trapped in the wild, so the relationship between captive breeding and trapping in the wild is complex,” Martin said. “So they’re bringing in the wild-caught birds, and they’re breeding from them until they can no longer breed, and then they’re just buying more wild-caught birds. So even though people think they’re doing the right thing by buying the captive-bred birds, they’re inadvertently still supporting this demand for wild birds.”
The constant demand for African grey parrots is taking a tremendous toll on wild populations. In Ghana alone, it’s estimated that 90 to 99 percent of African grey parrots have disappeared from the forests since the 1990s, according research published by Ghanian ornithologist Dr. Nathaniel Annorbah. The birds are also extremely rare or locally extinct in places like Benin, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Togo, and populations are dwindling in other countries, too.