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Controversial German zoo accumulates rare parrots

A highly secretive organisation in Germany has amassed an extensive collection of the world’s rarest parrots. In a shocking exclusive, the Guardian recently exposed the story of the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots () which is located east of Berlin. Run by former nightclub manager Martin Guth, ACTP is home to hundreds of the most endangered parrots on the planet. But is this a legitimate organisation?

Hidden away on a dusty road

ACTP is tucked away at the end of a dusty road outside a small village. There is no car park or other signs that this is a zoo and yet Martin Guth has been able to build one of the largest collections of threatened birds in the world. Despite grave concerns, the Australian government has granted permits for the export of 200 birds since 2015. This was on condition that the birds were for public exhibition but ACTP shows every sign of being a private collection.

Sales to wealthy collectors

There are fears that the rare parrots are being sold to rich collectors. Martin Guth has already served time in prison for kidnapping and extortion! Social media messages suggest he is now engaging in illegal sales of rare birds. At least one individual who works with ACTP has a conviction for involvement with illegal bird trading.

Guth claims that his organisation is breeding captive parrots to create safety populations to preserve the birds should a species becomes extinct in the wild. But this approach is not favoured by conservationists who feel that the focus should be on saving the wild birds.

No scientific research

ACTP publishes no information regarding its governance or financing. Neither has it released any scientific peer-reviewed research about its conservation work. It claims to own a breeding centre in the Netherlands, but this operation is run by a collector who has a conviction for illegally selling exotic birds.

Criminal past

Martin Guth’s criminal past is a matter of public record. It is obvious that his facility is not a zoo which is open to the public. However, governments around the world have been prepared to grant him permits to import rare species, seemingly without conducting any checks into his activities. It is known that the Australian government has been warned several times about Martin Guth. They have been told that Guth would likely attempt to sell the birds. The warnings have been ignored and he was able to import more than you’d find in all the Australian zoos combined.

Trapping birds

To make matters worse, in 2017, officials in Australia and Germany received an email from the Cites secretariat in Switzerland with a further warning. It advised both countries that an informant had tipped them off that Guth was in Australia to trap . Later that year the Australian government brokered a deal with ACTP that involved the organisation giving $200,000 to the Western Australian government for conservation projects!

Evidence is mounting that the ACTP is not a legitimate conservation organisation. It would appear that Martin Guth is amassing a personal collection while profiting from the sale of some of the birds. His activities need to be stopped but governments are not listening to the warnings which have been issued.


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