Following a campaign from World Animal Protection (WAP),  Turkish Airlines have announced an immediate ban on the transportation of African grey parrots on any of their flights.

The “Wildlife. Not pets” campaign investigated the massive illegal trade of these protected parrots, and discovered that poachers were using carriers such as Turkish Airlines to smuggle the birds out of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Following a petition that garnered 80,000 signatures in less than two weeks, Turkish Airlines did not hesitate to step up to issue the embargo.

“This is a positive result for African grey parrots, but we must keep pressing forward to find solutions to address the illegal trafficking that our investigations uncovered,” stated WAP on their website. “Though there is a long way to go, the embargo on African grey parrots is a promising first step. We’re pleased the company responded quickly to our concerns and look forward to working together to improve welfare for wildlife.”

Cruelly taken from the wild, these endangered birds are highly sought after as exotic pets; an estimated two to three million have been snatched from their native habitats in the last 40 years. However, many parrots die during capture, handling, and transport due to stress, poor handling, and inadequate care.

Even if they do make it to their new homes, their life is one of suffering. Deprived of their natural social groupings and unable to grow, learn and fly, these magnificent, intelligent birds should never be kept as pets.

Though the airline has made promising moves forward in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade, WAP emphasizes that there is still a lot of work to be done. They will be meeting with Turkish Airlines in the coming weeks to discuss long-term solutions to prevent illegal smuggling.