Nyasa Lovebirds: Trapping and Smuggling in Africa


[Editors note: Mr. T.E. Cox keeps and breeds birds in the African country of Zimbabwe. He has done a great deal of work with the Nyasa Lovebird Agapomis liiianae in his own auaries and has a keen interest in the species. He was appalled at several local newspaper reports that numerous lovebirds were being trapped to be eaten for lunch, among other uses. Mr. Cox penned a letter to the newspaper editor giving his views on the subject. For the AFA 's general information, Mr. Cox sent us several of the newspaper articles and his own letter to the editor. S.L.D. ed.] confiscated birds were for relish, says accused Court Reporter.

The Harare man arrested over the weekend with 662 love birds with a street value of $132,400 yesterday told a Harare magistrate that he had intended to slaughter the birds for "his family's favourite meal."

Member Bandera (52), convicted yesterday of contravening the Parks and Wildlife Act, told magistrate Mr. Cosmas Mukwesha that he went all the way to Nyamapanda border post to buy the birds for his family's relish.

The birds were discovered and rescued when police raided a house in Dzivarasekwa looking for drugs.

Bandera said his wife and 10 children enjoyed eating the birds and he had not intended selling them. Before his arrest, he had already slaughtered 20 birds which his family had for a day's lunch and supper, he told the court.

Asked by the magistrate how long he intended keeping the rest of the birds before slaughtering them, Bandera said:

"Maybe for a month or so but not for a long time."

On September 24 this year police received information that Bandera kept drugs in his house. They made a search there and found three home-made wire cages containing 662 Nyasa love birds.

In mitigation after his plea of guilty yesterday, Bandera implored the magistrate to be lenient. He said he had to look after his large family and was not going to do the same thing again.

Mr. Gry Tabvuma appeared for the State.


A MAN convicted of illegally possessing 662 love birds worth $132,400, which the court accepted were kept for food, will work 180 hours of community service at an environment that will enable him to love animals.

Member Bandera (52) was yesterday sentenced to six months in jail which were wholly suspended on condition he did community service at the Department of Parks and Wild Life Management's National Botanic Gardens for 180 hours.

The community service should start on Monday next week and be completed within...