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Bird trade escalating in Vietnam: study

The wild bird trade is popular in Vietnam. (Photo: nld.com.vn)

HCM City (VNS/VNA)
–Vietnam’s sizeable trade in wild birds is going unchecked and could harm wild
populations if not managed, a new study by wildlife trade monitoring network
TRAFFIC warns.

Some 8,047 birds belonging to 115 species were offered for sale in the
country’s largest cities, Hanoi and HCM City.

Of the thousands of birds observed recently, over 99 percent were of species
native to Vietnam, while regulations governing the trade exist for only 771 (10
percent) of the total: indeed, nine of the 10 most abundant species recorded
during the survey were not subject to any trade controls under Vietnamese
legislation.

“The survey findings are consistent with a thriving demand for native birds
within Vietnam,” Kanitha Krishnasamy, acting regional director for TRAFFIC in
Southeast Asia, said.

“However, as trade in most of the species seen is not regulated by law, it
means large numbers of birds are being extracted with no oversight of
sustainability or how severely it will impact wild populations.”

She said the survey showed a rise in the number of species and individuals for
sale since previous studies in 1991, 1998, 2001, and 2008, adding that the
numbers, the array of species and large number of immature birds for sale were
all a sign of the need for improved monitoring of the trade including
regulation of offtake and oversight of any ranching or captive breeding operations.

Scaly-breasted munias (21 percent) and red-whiskered bulbuls (15 percent) were
most abundant in the survey, together adding up to around 3,000 individuals.
Both are legally tradeable. The latter, popular in the cage-bird trade, was
also one of the most abundant species previously recorded by TRAFFIC in the
Singapore and Bangkok bird markets.

The report recommends improved monitoring and regulation of the harvest and
trade of wild caught bird species to ensure they do not negatively affect wild
populations.

The authors specifically call for Vietnam’s current legislation to include
range-restricted endemic birds and species assessed as globally threatened in
the IUCN Red List.

“TRAFFIC stands ready to support Vietnamese authorities in any effort to review
and strengthen current regulations,” Madelon Willemsen, head of TRAFFIC’s Vietnam
office, said.

“We will continue to provide information on the levels of bird trade in Vietnam.
This critical knowledge will help to identify the need and urgency to adjust
policies and regulations so that the country meets its international
commitments on conserving biodiversity.”

The “Caged in the city: an inventory of birds for sale in Hanoi and HCM City, Vietnam”
report marks TRAFFIC’s sixth inventory of notable bird markets in the region,
the others being Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, collectively recording
60,000 birds being traded.-VNA 

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