AsianScientist (Jul. 30, 2012) – A shocking new TRAFFIC study has revealed that tens of thousands of wild birds exported from the Solomon Islands have been laundered into the global wildlife trade by declaring them as “captive-bred”.
Between 2000 and 2010, more than 54,000 birds, mainly parrots and cockatoos, were imported from the Solomon Islands and declared as captive bred.
Local authorities, however, confirmed to TRAFFIC that the Solomon Islands is not known to have substantial bird breeding facilities. In fact, registered bird breeders in the islands primarily use their facilities as holding sites for wild-caught birds bound for export.
“Declaring exported birds as being captive-bred has all the hallmarks of a scam to get around international trade regulations,” said Chris R. Shepherd, Deputy Regional Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia and an author of the new report.
All the birds were of species listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), which restricts trade in wild-caught individuals, but has less stringent rules if they are captive-bred.
Curiously, more than 13,000 non-native birds (mostly critically endangered or threatened species naturally occurring in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) were exported, but no export records exist that could explain how any stock for captive-breeding operations had reached the Solomon Islands.
Over the past decade, Singapore and Malaysia combined have accounted for 93 percent of all birds imported from the Solomon Islands, with significant numbers being re-exported, especially to Taiwan.
Due to concerns over the trade, Malaysia has suspended bird imports from the Solomon Islands. TRAFFIC is now urging Singapore to consider a similar suspension.
“Singapore should follow Malaysia’s lead in suspending bird imports, not only from the Solomon Islands but anywhere else if there is a lack of clarity as to their legal origin,” said Shepherd.
The report also recommends an investigation into whether captive breeding operations in the Solomon Islands are carried out through CITES processes. If irregularities are found, CITES can intervene by suspending all trade in CITES-listed species from the island archipelago.
Source: TRAFFIC; Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.