Why Is Turkish Airlines & Cargo Still Enabling The Exotic Pet Trade After Committing To Combat Wildlife Trafficking?

Left Photo by World Animal Protection/ African grey parrots during transportation

An investigation by World Animal Protection reveals Turkish Airlines and Turkish Cargo are enabling the exotic pet trade, despite making commitments to combat wildlife trafficking. The airline and its cargo carrier have been used to illegally transport wild-caught African grey parrots on flights from Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Nigeria and Mali to countries in the Middle East, western and southern Asia.

Millions of wild animals including parrots are being captured from their habitats or born into captivity, to be sold into the exotic pet trade; a growing multi-billion-dollar industry that’s having a devastating impact on wildlife populations across our planet.

Whether traded legally or illegally, keeping wild animals as pets is cruel. The journey they endure is perilous; tortoises, snakes and parrots are cruelly captured from the wild and sold to traders. They are stuffed in crates, often unable to breathe properly or move, and most of these wild animals will sadly suffocate, starve or succumb to diseases before they even reach their new artificial homes as pets.

There is no realistic way to replicate the space and freedom these animals have in the wild. Many animals are kept in spaces vastly smaller than their natural habitat and lack the correct nutrition and can become sick and die as a result.

Research by World Animal Protection reveals that three out of four parrots captured in Mexico to be sold as pets die before reaching a buyer.

Nearly one third of all wild animals die during transportation. A high number of pet snakes, lizards and tortoises die within the first year in the home. With natural age ranges from 8-120 years old, it is thought that these deaths mostly occur from stress-related illness related to their captivity.

Cassandra Koenen, Global Head of Exotic Pets at World Animal Protection said in a statement, “Poaching animals for the exotic pet trade is happening on an industrial scale with devastating consequences. Worse still is that the illegal and illicit elements of the trade are often aided by government corruption and inadequate enforcement.”

“Shockingly, as recently as August 18th, 2018, African grey parrots were transported by Turkish Airlines between Kinshasa and Kuwait via Istanbul, with more than 60 found dead on arrival.”

Most people buy exotic pets because they love animals – but any wild animal in the exotic pet trade experiences extreme suffering.

World Animal Protection is urging people to not buy, own or breed a wild animal as a pet. A life in captivity is a world away from a life in the wild. Wild animals are not pets, they belong in the wild.

Join the movement to help end the cruel exotic pet trade and call on Turkish Airlines at (800) 874-8875 and 0850 333 0 777 to immediately cease flying all birds and endangered species on their airlines.

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