🦜What's new🦜

● On site activities

We have made a contract with a local constructor for the construction of rescue emergency aviary for confiscated Grey parrots.
Construction was started on 18th July and becomes about completion on 8th August.

Today (May 31) is the World Parrot Days. We hope all the confiscated Grey parrots being free.
I received the beautiful posters from Dr Rowan Matin of World Parrot Trust.

UWA recently announced the sentence to the smugglers as 7 years in jail.

We sent Japanese team to Uganda Wildlife Conservation and Education Centre (UWEC) at Entebbe on 23rd April to start the onsite activities. Please refer UWEC Facebook and tweeter JICA Uganda

Uganda Wilidlife Authority(UWA) and local police arrested smugglers and seized about 200 grey parrots. These parrots were transferred to UWEC animal hospital just before the arrival of Japanese team. The numbers in quarantine rooms became 117, nearly half of original number reported on 23rd April. Our project must be accelerated to save these remained 117 grey parrots in which at least 1/3 are juveniles.

●Contract with JICA
Final contract was signed both by Chubu University and JICA on 9th March 2022 for the official start of the project
Reference for MM document

●Collaboration with Toyama Municipal Family Parlk Zoo

In Toyama Municipal Family park Zoo will open its Tropical Birds Building in July 2022. (熱帯鳥類施設報道). This zoo cooperates with us and we will touch the fund from SUNTORY FUND FOR BIRD CONSERVATION in 2022to develop analytical methodology to identify the origin of individual Grey parrots, hormone analyses and establishment of feeding strategy to improve reproduction.

1. Project background

1-1. Current Situation about African Grey parrots
  The grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is a large-sized parrot belonging to the family Psittacidae. This social parrot is highly intelligent—comparable to a five-year-old human—and can communicate directly with humans in captivity, becoming a popular pet. In response to the strong demand for pets, wild grey parrots have been captured and exported to Europe, the United States and Japan, as well as emerging countries. According to an estimate, nearly 900,000 parrots were captured in the 20 years between 1980 and 2000. This overhunting, combined with forest development in these areas, has led to a dramatic decline in wild parrot populations, which are now threatened with extinction.
To address this situation, the 17th Washington Convention Conference of the Parties in 2016 voted to ban the commercial trade of wild grey parrots. According to 2017 estimates, however, 40,000 parrots continue to be illegally captured each year. They are now considered to be completely extinct in Ghana (native country of western grey parrots) and almost extinct in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Cameroon (native countries of Congo grey parrots). Now they are nowhere to be seen in these countries, where large flocks of hundreds to over one thousand parrots would freely fly over the tropical forests 20 years ago. The Republic of Uganda, the target country of this project, is situated at the eastern end of the distribution of the African grey parrot and harbours some natural breeding sites, although the Ugandan population size is largely unknown.

1-2. Urgent Necessity to Establish the Shelter
In order to avoid the extinction of an endangered species, it is necessary to thoroughly protect the remaining wild individuals in their habitats and breed them in ex situ facilities and return them to the wild habitats. When a species is nearly extinct, it is almost hopeless to restore the population due to the genetic diversity loss, even if much effort is put into in situ projects for conservation and reproduction. In such cases, reintroduction from other areas is required. Thus, it is critical to set up a facility with methodologies to preserve, breed and reintroduce parrots. Ideally, such facilities should be situated close to their natural habitats. This is because distant countries have different climate conditions—sunlight, temperature and rainfall— from natural habitats and distinct flora and fauna, making it difficult to grow and breed the housed animals. It is also the case with grey parrots: it is a significant factor to establish the conservation and reproduction facilities close to their wild habitats for reintroducing them into the wild.
As the background to the necessity of such facilities, the transition to CITES Appendix I (the strictest category of international trade, including a ban on international trade for commercial purposes and the requirement for export and import permits for academic purposes) is very important. As the application of CITES becomes stringent, it is expected that the number of parrots caught smuggling will increase, but there are no international facilities to receive them. Meanwhile, CITES Appendix I does not prohibit the trade of captive-bred individuals but, in the case of their commercial trade, requires a “certificate of captive reproduction” from the authority in charge of CITES inspections, such as the Ministry of the Environment in case of Japan. Stricter enforcement of CITES is expected to lead to an increased number of cases where the certificate cannot be obtained. This may increase the number of abandoned parrots because of the lack of certificate. Already in Japan, pet suppliers have begun to approach universities and zoos to bring in such individuals. To house these parrots and their offspring and return them to natural habitats, we need a conservation and reproduction facility.

1-3. Potential of Uganda and Uganda Wildlife Conservation and Education Centre (UWEC) as a venue for the facility
  Uganda has the conditions to become an international base for parrot conservation, with wild populations ensuring genetic diversity and zoological facility such as Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC). UWEC has experiences to house grey parrots seized by Ugandan police, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and to receive grey parrots sent from Europe. Later, some of these birds are released into the several locations in Uganda. Nevertheless, the UWEC is still requires an improvement about the techniques to prepare reintroduction of the grey parrots such as efficient reproduction, breeding, nutrition, and post-release monitoring.
Moreover, conservation will not progress if the parrots are poached as soon as they are released back into the wild. Therefore, there is need for the protection and breeding centre to work with the local people living in reintroduced areas. The direct cause of poaching in national parks and forest reserves and the extinction of many species is mainly due to poverty of the local population. To eliminate the cause of poaching, therefore, it is necessary to establish a scheme where “poachers are transformed into conservationists through the improvement of livelihoods and the improved education opportunities”. To realise this, we need local communities to fully appreciate the value of parrots as one of the tourism resources and be actively involved in the tourism projects with focus on them. We also need to promote the sharing of revenue from tourism with the local communities.

1-4. Putative target areas
Ngamba Island and Kibale National Park, both target areas of the project, are natural habitats of grey parrots where UWEC has experience of releasing the sheltered parrots. Both areas maintain coordination with local conservation NGOs and, after discussions between the proposing organisation and UWEC, have been confirmed to be the best candidates for eco-tourism with focus on the released parrots.

2. Organization

Chubu University together with several Japanese Universities and zoos and conservation institutions are collaborating with Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre at Entebbe to conduct this project. Project leader (Professor K. Ushida)and sub-leader (Dr S. Tsuchida) has an experiences in microbiology and nutritional biochemistry of African wild animals.→Research gate net. Another sub-leader(Prof. T. Nishihara) has long experience in WCS for conservation of African elephant and Grey parrots.