On Friday, September 7th, 2007, the avian community was shocked and saddened to hear that Alex, the African Grey Parrot had died at the age of 31 years.
Alex had been with Dr. Irene Pepperberg for 30 years and together, they convinced the world that birds are intelligent, thinking animals, with the added bonus of being able to talk. Those of us with pet birds knew this already, but the rest of the world needed convincing.
Alex could identify objects and colours. He knew the difference between sizes and shapes. According to Dr. Pepperberg, "he showed the emotional equivalent of a two year old child and the intellectual equivalent of a five year old."
According to the press release that was posted today at The Alex Foundation homepage, there is no known cause of death. Alex had been seen by an avian veterinarian approximately two weeks ago and had been pronounced healthy at that time.
Alex will be missed by Dr. Pepperberg and the staff who cared for him. Many of us will also miss him, even though we had never met him.
Dr. Pepperberg has two remaining African Grey Parrots – Arthur (known as Wart) and Griffin who are in training. Dr Pepperberg will continue her studies with Wart and Griffin.
If you choose to help support this research, please consider making a donation in Alex's memory to The Alex Foundation, c/o Dr. Irene Pepperberg, Department of Psychology/MS-062, 415 South Street, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454. Paypal donations are also accepted from the Alex Foundation webpage.