A World Animal Protection (WAP) investigation has revealed Turkish Airlines and Cargo may have been used in the illegal trafficking of exotic animals.
According to the investigation, poachers used the airline and its cargo carrier 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.
The exotic pet trade is a growing multibillion-dollar industry that’s having a devastating impact on wildlife populations across the world.
“Animals suffer at every step of the journey destined to people’s homes: from capture to handling, transport, holding, breeding, sale and the lifetime of captivity in the home,” Cassandra Koenen, global head of exotic pets at WAP said.
“Shockingly, as recently as August 18, 2018, African grey parrots were transported by Turkish Airlines between Kinshasa and Kuwait via Istanbul, with more than 60 found dead on arrival.
“Turkish Airlines and Cargo flies to 120 countries, more than any other airline, which is why we are calling on them to cease the transportation of all bird species until we have mutual confidence that African grey parrots and other endangered bird species are not being flown on their planes.”
According to WAP, once a wild-caught animal is on someone’s home, there is no realistic way to replicate the space and freedom these animals would have in the wild.
Many animals are kept in spaces vastly smaller than their natural habitats and they don’t have the correct nutrition, even if owners have the best intentions to feed them properly.
“Most people buy exotic pets because they love animals – but any wild animal in the exotic pet trade experiences extreme suffering,” the organisation said in a release.
World Animal Protection is calling on Turkish Airlines and Cargo to immediately cease flying all birds on their airlines.
To help end the cruel exotic pet trade, World Animal Protection is also urging people to not buy, own or breed a wild animal as a pet. Wild animals are not pets, they belong in the wild.