As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 12 December 2018

'A legitimate zoo?’ How an obscure German group cornered global trade in endangered parrots - continued

Exclusive: A secretive organisation based in a German village has amassed one of the world’s largest collections of rare parrots. How did Martin Guth, a former nightclub manager, persuade governments to authorise the export of so many endangered species?

by Lisa Cox in Melbourne and Philip Oltermannin Berlin

Mon 10 Dec 2018 19.00 GMTLast modified on Tue 11 Dec 2018 00.55 GMT

It’s an unlikely spot for a zoo – down an unmade, dusty road, amid a wood to the east of the German capital Berlin.

But here in the village of Tasdorf, hundreds of the world’s most endangered and rare parrot species are said to be housed at the headquarters of the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP).

The site is not easily accessible by public transport, and there is no car park. No signs offer information about opening hours or admission prices. The main entrance is through a roller-door. Next to its main building, on an adjacent house, a small sign gives a mobile number to call if no one is home.

From these obscure premises, a former nightclub manager and unofficial debt collector, Martin Guth, has been able to acquire one of the largest private collections of threatened birds in the world. The collection includes imperial and red-necked parrots from the Caribbean island of Dominica, endangered Australian cockatoos and about 90% of the global population of Brazil’s Spix’s macaw, a species that is now extinct in the wild.

Guth’s organisation, ACTP, has gained the cooperation of governments in several countries, including Australia, which has granted permits for the export of more than 200 native parrots since 2015, on condition that they were for exhibition only.

An Australian MP, Warren Entsch, says he warned his own government about its relationship with ACTP.

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