Animal Protection activists have launched the “Wildlife not Pets” Campaign to promote the welfare of wild animals and birds.
This comes after studies have shown decreasing trends in the numbers of particular wild species due to the love for keeping them as pets.
Activists from the World Animal Protection Africa, an international charity organization focusing on animal welfare, say that having the exotic pets in homes continues to undermine animal welfare to the extent of their extinction.
Dr. Patrick Muinde, the Research Manager World Animal Protection Africa says the growing world population and increased human activity are exerting pressure on Wildlife, threatening the welfare and survival of wild species.
Muinde says that right from the harvesting stage, over 50 percent of the animals captured die as they go through the trade chain and even at their final destinations.
“The harvesting means are so cruel and cause a lot of suffering to these animal, for instance in the case of the African Grey Parrots, they use glue, others use nets to catch them and these birds get injures, they get broken limbs in the process,” Muinde says.
Muinde explains that when it comes to transportation, the animals are kept in fan consignments, you find them in cages, metallic boxes and they are kept in there for long distance to the final destination in the West.
“All this time they do not get water, they are not fed, no one checks on their health because, they are doing it in secrecy, since it is illegal and the birds are being trafficked, ” Muinde says.
The Wildlife Campaign manager at World Animal Protection Africa, Edith Kabesiime stresses that having exotic pets like the African Grey Parrots in homes contributes to extinction of these rare species and subsequently undermines the country’s tourism sector.
Kabesiime says that through this Campaign, the they will sensitize the general public about the importance of maintaining the wild animals where they belong and if they are to be utilized this should be done in a more sustainable manner.
“It is important that we maintain the diversity of species and eco-systems. If really this planet is going to survive and if tourism as one of the contributors to Uganda’s Development is going to be sustainable, it is important that we maintain all species and African Grey parrots are part of the resource base,” Kabesiime says
According to Kabesiime, Uganda and Ghana are some of the countries where the population of the African Grey parrots is drastically dropping.
Kabasiime says that between 40 to 60 African Grey parrots die in the process to catching and selling one parrot.
According to her because of people’s love for these birds based on their intelligence, 1.4 million birds are estimated to have been exported to the Western World from Africa in the last 20 years.
The species traded as exotic pets include pythons, Lizards, Pangolins and tortoises.
Kabesime says that as the African continent develops, some elite Africans think it’s fancy and fashionable to have some of these pets in their living rooms for their entertainment.
Kabesiime told The Sunrise Newspaper that for instance fish Aquariums are becoming a common thing in well-to do homes yet such facilities are not the natural habitats for the fish and because of poor welfare in most cases the fish keeping on dying.
Kabesiime, a conservationist with 20 years experience, stresses the importance of utilizing these animals as God given resources without causing suffering to them.