Last month, a Congolese national, Bob Kabongo Mbaya was intercepted in Kisoro District trying to sell 122 Grey African Parrots smuggled from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The arrest followed a joint operation by Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Tourism Police and the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).
The recouped parrots are currently under quarantine at Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC) in Entebbe.
The 33 year old culprit was sentenced to 7 years in prison after he pleaded guilty of offenses specified under the Uganda Wildlife Act of 2019; importation of wildlife specimens without a permit and unlawful possession of protected species.
According to UWEC, 3 parrots were received dead and the surviving 119 are undergoing rehabilitation at the Centre for a period of up to 30 days.
Dr. Victor Musiime, who is a veterinarian officer at UWEC said they are most likely to reintroduce the parrots into the wild after a successful quarantine period. He further stressed that some of the birds sustained injuries.
“After the quarantine period, we will decide on the fate [of the parrots] which will most likely be release back into the natural wild,
“We shall do a pilot study in the natural wild, we shall be looking for a suitable release site after ascertaining if the site is safe from traffickers and can sustain their life.” Musiime stated
The market price for the African Grey Parrot ranges between USD 500 and USD 4000. Their global population is estimated between 40,000 to 100,000.
The African Grey Parrot is on the red list of endangered species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.