Turkish Airlines publicly pledged zero tolerance to illegal wildlife trading in 2017, but a new report has accused the airline of acting in opposite.

An investigation by World Animal Protection, an international non-profit animal welfare organisation, has accused Turkish Airlines and its cargo subsidiary of enabling animal trafficking after claiming to have found evidence of the illegal transportation of African Grey Parrots.

In a report released online this week (click here to read), the organisation said that wildlife traffickers have used the airline to illegally transport African Grey Parrots, a highly protected species with a global ban on trade, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Mali to the Middle East as well as West and South Asia.


World Animal Protection claims that in January 2018, less than two months after Turkish Airlines signed a pact against illegal wildlife trading, 340 African Grey Parrots were seized, half of which died before being released back into the wild.

Another investigation on 18 August 2018 discovered 60 African Grey Parrots transported by Turkish Airlines from Kinshasa to Kuwait dead on arrival.


World Animal Protection criticised the carrier’s training of staff, saying that “their failure to properly check its cargo… is putting these wild animals through immense cruelty and suffering and making them the poacher’s airline of choice”.

“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,” World Animal Protection Global Head of Exotic Pets, Cassandra Koenen, said.

“World Animal Protection is calling on Turkish Airlines to stop transporting all birds, until it’s sure African grey parrots and other protected species aren’t being flown illegally on its planes.”

World Animal Protection

The African Grey Parrot received the highest level of protection from the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in October 2016 after an estimated two-to-three million were poached over 40 years.

World Animal Protection’s 12-month undercover investigation revealed that these birds are still in high demand.

Click here to read the full report.

Turkish Airlines is yet to comment on the report.


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