Humans have always used wild animals and plants for their products, such as fruits and seeds for food, skins for clothing, wood for fires etc.

Case History - Parrots

Parrots have been popular as pets for years but the capture of large numbers of wild birds for mass exports to pet shops all over the world is causing a serious decline in many wild populations. The trade still thrives despite the cruelty and high death-rate involved in their capture and transit. Even common species, such as the African Grey, are beginning to be affected. A specialist collector will pay thousands of pounds for one rare bird. Although many species are bred in captivity, these are often more expensive to buy than wild-caught birds, and this encourages the wild trade to continue.

Trade laws
There are more than 350 species of parrot, many of which are endangered. In the USA, the 1992 Wild Bird Conservation Act insists that the traders prove their trade will not result in a decline in the wild population of the species. This action resulted in a dramatic fall in the US bird trade.

The future
Through lobbying by conservation organisations and the public, over 100 airlines now refuse to carry wild-caught birds. If people wish to buy a parrot, they should first make sure that it has been bred in captivity.

An additional threat to parrots is the destruction of their forest habitat, and if the pet trade continues then many species are doomed to extinction in the wild in the very near future.

Read More: Case History - Plants

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