They live in the primeval forests of the Congo and in the living rooms of the Germans: the Congo gray parrot is one of the most popular bird species among hobby keepers, also in Brandenburg. But by no means all animals are kept in a species-appropriate manner. This is the result of a study commissioned by Brandenburg’s Animal Welfare Officer Stefan Heidrich as part of the research project “Keeping Exotic Animals and Wild Animals in Private Hands”.

Of course, the result shows that the birds often live individually, and there are often no cages of sufficient size. “The current study makes it clear once again that the private keeping of gray parrots rarely fully meets the high demands of this exotic animal species, which is threatened with extinction,” says Heidrich. “In particular, the social behavior of the parrots is of great importance for species-appropriate keeping.”

As social animals, gray parrots should be kept at least in pairs. But dealers often did not explain this to potential customers. “In Austria and Switzerland, for example, individual keeping is prohibited according to the Animal Welfare Act,” criticizes the animal welfare officer. “Unfortunately, such a legal regulation does not yet exist in Germany.” The species-appropriate size of the cages in combination with the corresponding free-flight opportunities is often a problem, says Heidrich.

The animal welfare officer is convinced that legally binding regulations are needed for the keeping of exotic animals. In Switzerland, for example, proof of competence for keeping large parrots must be presented. If the Brandenburg animal welfare officer has his way, something like this should also be required in Germany. The federal government would be responsible for this.

Heidrich received support for the demand for a certificate of competence and minimum conditions for keeping exotic animals from the managing director of the “Forum Natur Brandenburg”, the Bernau veterinarian Sabine Buder, who is also a member of the “Veterinarian Association for Animal Welfare”. In the Corona period, many people would have bought new pets. “But the more specific the animal species, the more serious the lack of expertise,” says Buder. [If you want to have all the latest news live on your cell phone, we recommend our app, which you can download here for Apple and Android devices. ]

While you can hardly go wrong with a dwarf rabbit, gray parrots are highly intelligent creatures. “Keeping them species-appropriate is a challenge.” The same applies to monkeys, reptiles or certain types of fish. Their attitude is increasing, but at the same time the difficulties that arise are often underestimated.