On the 18th September, after months of painstaking investigations, a major trafficker of African wild parrots and other birds was arrested in Dakar, Senegal.According to SOS Grantee Rowan Martin of IUCN Member the World Parrot Trust (WPT), almost 800 parrots were confiscated, among them 89 Vulnerable Timneh parrots (Psittacus timneh).

“The operation was conducted by Senegalese authorities and Project SALF (Senegal-Application of the Wildlife Act) as part of an initiative funded through WPT”, elaborates Rowan.

SALF coordinator Charlotte Houpline said “for the first time an international trafficker of African parrots has been arrested in Senegal and brought to justice”.

CITES documentation found with the birds, claimed that the Timneh parrots had originated in Mali, despite no wild populations occurring in the country. The parrots were illegally smuggled into Senegal and destined for export to Jordan. The court hearing began on the 5th October.

WPT veterinarian, Davide de Guz, was present during the operation to oversee the management of the confiscated parrots and move them to a purpose-built facility. WPT continue to work closely with the Senegalese Directorate of Water and Forests to provide the necessary immediate care and establish long-term solutions for their management.

Every year thousands of wild birds are exported from West Africa with many passing through dealers in Dakar, explains Rowan. Timneh parrots, which are restricted to a handful of West African countries, are among the birds regularly traded illegally. They often end up as pets in the Middle East and Asia.

Investigations into the illegal trade in West Africa are supported as part of a multi-faceted SOS-funded project to protect Timneh parrots. The project works with local communities to protect key breeding areas from poaching at the same time as working with SALF to dismantle the trade networks that provide access to illicit markets.

This encouraging news follows earlier project successes employing former parrot trappers to help protect from poaching nests on the Bijagós islands, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve off the coast of Guinea-Bissau. You can read about that news by clicking here.

Protecting threatened species is critical. Wildlife and nature supply us with so many basic necessities from food to fuel and shelter, but also inspiration in art, language and design to name but a few examples.

This news is just one example from one of 90 projects that are each delivering conservation results thanks to the SOS model – supporting good projects implemented by existing conservation actors.

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