Uganda Wildlife Authority has released 204 highly endangered African grey parrots back to the wild after a six months quarantine period. 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 a release ceremony in one of the protected areas on July 28, 2011 UWA’s Community Conversation coordinator, Johnson Masereka said these parrots are part of the 270 parrots rescued from smugglers who wanted to export them to European countries.
Masereka 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.“ 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,” Masereka added.
The release of the parrots was preceded by intensive preparatory work which included research on the sustainability of the national park, and training people who will handle the birds and organizing field inspection of all site. According to Masereka, the African grey parrot can have up to 1,000 vocabularies. On being let free, most parrots and many flew out in pair, just like couples.
UWEC received 272 African Grey Parrots (AGP) from UWA after the birds were confiscated from illegal captors. The first batch of 132 parrots was confiscated while in transit at Mpondwe custom’s border post in Kasese District on 11 January 2011. The second confiscation of 140 parrots was obtained from Kawuku, Entebbe, Wakiso District on 22nd January 2011. These parrots were confiscated from a holding ground of an approved licensee for Wildlife Use right Class D. The owner claims that the parrots were trapped from Kalangala Islands on Lake Victoria within Uganda a claim that could not be verified due to lack of supporting documents.Following completion of the quarantine period, UWEC had been stuck with the Parrots. In March, UWEC made consultation with lead conservation stakeholders to determine the fate of the birds. The report recommended that the parrots are released in one of the national parks providing the most ideal factors for successful post release survival.