Reuben the sick-of-red-tape parrot re-united with owner in Bahrain thanks to Chamber International

A sick parrot suffering from stress after being kept in in quarantine overseas unnecessarily is safe at home with his owner, thanks to quick action by export specialists at Chamber International.

Trade experts at Bradford-based Chamber International stepped in to help Ruben, a five-year-old African Grey in double-quick time and diffuse an international misunderstanding.

The trade procedures team at Chamber International was contacted for Ruben’s desperate owner in Bahrain after customs officials at the kingdom’s international airport refused to release the increasingly-stressed parrot from quarantine over a bureaucratic technicality.

Ruben, an endangered species, had been sent to Bahrain by Kris Ottley, an office manager at London & Essex Kents Farm Kennels & Catteries, North Weald Basset, Essex, through British Airways at Heathrow Airport with all the appropriate documentation.  

He says: “Sending animals overseas is one of our services. We send dogs and cats all over the world. London and Essex have exported birds before, but this was the first bird I had exported. We had double-checked all the documentation but when Ruben arrived at Bahrain International Airport they claimed that some information was missing and refused to release him.

“After a day went by, both Ruben and his owner, who was trying to collect him, were getting very stressed and another parrot, kept in a travel box in quarantine, died which must have upset Ruben further. I double-checked with officials at DEFRA who said that they had exported five birds to Bahrain in the last month but had never been asked for the requested information.

“I got in touch with Chamber International after the owner searched the Internet for organisations that could help. They were quick to react and we’re grateful for that.

“It turned out that the requested information – a certificate of origin- was not needed because it was a pet being sent to its owner rather than the commercial export of livestock but, as it was fast becoming a race against time, they provided the information online, negotiated that a scanned copy would be acceptable to Bahrain customs officials and it was sent it to them.

“After that, Ruben was released and is now safe at home with his owners, Frieda and Laurie van der Colff, and recovering from the ordeal which is a huge relief to us all.”

Chamber International trade procedures manager, Alison Holmes says: “We received quite an agitated call from Kris. We’re so pleased it had a happy ending as Ruben is from an endangered species and are delighted that he is re-united with his owner.”

Chamber International assists chambers of commerce with a wide range of specialist international trade services and is also supporting Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) by delivering its We Are International export campaign, which aims to being an extra £1.6bn to ten local authority areas and create thousands of new jobs in the next five years.

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Chamber International - Reuben the parrot