Although this African parrot can speak 300 words others have
been known to have a vocabulary of 900 words. It is perhaps this
extensive vocabulary that has made the African grey parrot so
sought after as a pet with history recording them being kept by
Roman families, the ancient Greeks and even King Henry VIII.
The African Grey parrot sells easily on the black market and is mainly
exported by the following countries: Cameroon (44%), Democratic
Republic of Congo (33%), Republic of Congo (9%), Ivory Coast
(5%), and in smaller amounts from Liberia, Sierra Leone and
Guinea. Europe takes around 93% of these exports however there
are calls for an import ban as the exporting countries don't
monitor their parrot populations raising concerns about their
The video right shows some of the work being undertaken to protect the African Grey parrot in Uganda where they are caught by poachers and smuggled out of the country and sold for up to £1200 each. In this incident 224 African Grey parrots were confiscated from smugglers and taken to the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) where they were cared for for six months until ready to be released into the wild at the densely forested Kibaale National Park. Whilst it is hoped they will be safe there they still remain at further risk from poachers.