Uganda Wildlife Authority on Thursday afternoon released 204 highly endangered African grey parrots. The parrots were confiscated at the Mpondwe Customs border post in Kasese and at a private farm at Kawuku along the Kampala-Entebbe highway.
At 3p.m today the parrots were released back into the wild at Kibaale National Park, in western Uganda. At the release ceremony UWA’s Community Conversation coordinator, Johnson Maseruka said these parrots are part of the 270 parrots rescued from smugglers who wanted to export them to European countries.
Maseruka said the demand for African grey parrots is very high in the world market where a parrot can go for up to 2,000 US dollars.
“These parrots are also on high demand given their high intelligence levels, the highest among all parrots. We are releasing these parrots into wilderness after a six months quarantine period at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) during which their health and behaviour were constantly monitored ,” Maseruka added.
The African grey parrot is a medium sized bird found in mostly in rainforests.
Lillian Nsubuga, UWA’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) said a lot of preparatory work has been done before the release of these birds into the wild, which includes research on the sustainability of the national park, and training people who will handle the birds and organizing field inspection of all site. She added that this was the first activity of the kind.
Maseruka said the African grey parrot can have up to 1,000 vocabularies. When let free it was a new beginning for most parrots and many flew out in pair, just like couples ready to make the most of their new found freedom.