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Oxpeckers

Grey area: The illicit parrot trade and SA’s captive-breeding industry

Grey area: The illicit parrot trade and SA’s captive-breeding industry

On June 25, a shipment of 241 African grey parrots arrived at Johannesburg International Airport, purportedly from a breeder in Dubai. Sealed inside several wooden boxes, the birds passed through customs without being inspected by conservation officials, a breach of import regulations. The importer was a retired state attorney and an executive member of the Parrot Breeders Association of South Africa, Dieter Horstmann. He drove his parrots to a private quarantine facility that afternoon. Horstmann’s troubles began a month later.