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Bird-keeping in Indonesia: Conservation impacts and the potential for substitution-based conservation responses


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Bird-keeping is an extremely popular pastime in Indonesia, where there is a thriving internal market in both wild-caught and captive-bred birds. However, little is known about whether the scale of bird-keeping represents a genuine conservation threat to native populations. Here we present the results of the largest ever survey of bird-keeping among households in Indonesia's five major cities. Birds were found to be urban Indonesia's most popular pet (kept by 21.8% of survey households) and we conservatively estimate that as many as 2.6 million birds are kept in the five cities sampled. Of bird-keeping households, 78.5% kept domestic species and/or commercially bred species and 60.2% kept wild-caught birds that we classified into three conservation categories: native songbirds, native parrots and imported songbirds. Compared to non-bird owners, households keeping wild-caught birds in all three conservation categories were richer and better educated, whereas households owning commercially-bred species were richer but not better educated and households keeping domestic species did not differ in educational or socio-economic status. We conclude that bird-keeping in Indonesia is at a scale that warrants a conservation intervention and that promoting commercially-bred alternatives may be an effective and popular solution.
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... The selection of the species traded is driven largely by human demands, but these demands may differ between countries due to their cultural, historical, and geographical characteristics (Ribeiro et al., 2019). For example, in Asian countries, such as Taiwan, birds are traded for widespread traditional practices including bird song competitions, bird-keeping, and prayer animal release (Jepson & Ladle, 2005;Nash, 1993;Severinghaus & Chi, 1999). However, in European and ex-European colonies such as the United States, South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand, bird trade has historically been driven by the use of species for hunting, food, ornamentation, biological control (Abellán et al., 2016;Blackburn et al., 2009), and more recently by the pet trade (Abellán et al., 2016;Carrete & Tella, 2008;Dyer et al., 2017;Westphal et al., 2008). ...
... These differences in cultural and historical backgrounds suggest that the composition and origins of species in the bird trade may differ between geographic regions Edmunds et al., 2011;Jepson & Ladle, 2005;Severinghaus & Chi, 1999). ...
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Complete summary of the scientific knowledge currently available on closing of the knowledge-implementation gap in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Describes interdisciplinary and innovative uses of knowledge sources and knowledge mobilization practices to halt biodiversity loss under human-driven global environmental change. Essential reading for graduate students, researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers working across sectors with biodiversity knowledge and natural resource management around the world. Available here:
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Technical Report
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Tropical forest restoration stands to deliver important conservation gains in lowland Southeast Asia, which has suffered some of the world's highest rates of forest degradation and loss. This promise, however, may be undermined by defaunation driven by ubiquitous wildlife trapping in the region, particularly for forest birds that are part of the multi-million-dollar pet trade. To date, quantification of the impacts of trade-driven trapping on rates of biodiversity recovery from forest restoration has been limited. Here, we use a unique long-term survey dataset to ask how trade-driven trapping may interfere with the expected recovery of avian community under forest restoration, at a flagship ecosystem restoration site in the lowland rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. We show that tropical forest restoration is associated with the increases in the abundance of 88% of bird species over time. However, impacts of trapping within more accessible areas of the forest meant that this recovery was dampened for 74% of bird species, relative to levels expected as a result of the magnitude of forest recovery observed. Most species (80%) showed increasingly positive relationships between abundance and site remoteness over the period, a pattern that was found for both species targeted for the pet trade (85% of species) and those trapped opportunistically or as 'bycatch' (78% of species). We emphasize the urgency of tackling the emerging threat of pet trade to Southeast Asia's avian diversity, not least to ensure the effectiveness of efforts towards forest restoration.
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Between 1.5 and 2 million people worldwide are believed to keep marine aquaria. The trade which supplies this hobby with live marine animals is a global multi-million dollar industry, worth an estimated US$200-330 million annually, and operating throughout the tropics. Ornamental marine species (corals, other invertebrates and fish) are collected and transported mainly from Southeast Asia, but also increasingly from several island nations in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, to consumers in the main destination markets: the United States, the European Union (EU) and, to a lesser extent, Japan. Very few of the species in trade are exploited directly for other purposes, and there is little doubt that aquarium animals are the highest value-added product that can be harvested from a coral reef. If managed sustainably, the trade could support jobs in predominantly rural, low-income coastal communities and so provide strong economic incentives for coral reef conservation in regions where other options for generating revenue are limited. However, damaging techniques occasionally used to collect the animals, possible over harvesting of some species and the high levels of mortality associated with inadequate handling and transport of sensitive living organisms undermine this potential, and continue to pose significant challenges to achieving sustainability. As a result the trade has seldom been free of controversy as traders try to generate a profit, conservationists try to avoid further decline in coral reefs also suffering from other pressures, and policy makers try to assemble a legislative framework that protects coral reefs without threatening a legitimate business activity or the incomes of communities engaged in aquarium fishing. In the main, this debate has taken place without access to impartial and quantitative data on the trade and, with so many different viewpoints, achieving consensus on its impacts, and hence the identification of suitable responses, has been difficult. In 2000, the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), the Marine Aquarium Council (MAC) and members of various aquarium trade associations collaboration, to address this need for better information and created the Global Marine Aquarium Database (GMAD). Trade data have been obtained from wholesale exporters and importers of marine aquarium organisms, most often through copies of trade invoices, integrated and standardized into quantitative, species-specific information which has been placed in the public domain: Fifty eight companies, approximately one-fifth of the wholesalers in business, and four government management authorities have provided data to GMAD. In August 2003 the dataset contained 102,928 trade records (7.7 million imported and 9.4 million exported animals) covering a total of 2,393 species of fish, corals and invertebrates and spanning the years 1988 to 2003. These data have permitted the most accurate quantitative estimates to date of the size of the global trade in marine ornamental fish and corals, and the first ever estimates for invertebrates other than corals, a previously overlooked section of the industry. FISH A total of 1,471 species of fish are traded worldwide with the best estimate of annual global trade ranging between 20 and 24 million individuals. Damselfish (Pomacentridae) make up almost half of the trade, with species of angelfish (Pomacanthidae), surgeonfish (Acanthuridae), wrasses (Labridae), gobies (Gobiidae) and butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae) accounting for approximately another 25-30 per cent. The most traded species are the blue-green damselfish (Chromis viridis), the clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris), the whitetail dascyllus (Dascyllus aruanus), the sapphire devil (Chrysiptera cyanea) and the threespot dascyllus (Dascyllus trimaculatus). The ten most traded species account for about 36 per cent of all fish traded for the years 1997 to 2002. Trade data, correlated with aquarium suitability information, indicate that two species known not to acclimatize well to aquarium conditions are nonetheless very commonly traded. They are the bluestreak cleaner wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus: GMAD records 87,000 worldwide imports of this species from 1997 to 2002) and the mandarin fish (Synchiropus splendidus: GMAD records 11,000 live individuals exported to the EU in the same period). Data further indicate that species characterized as ‘truly unsuitable’, mainly due to their restricted dietary requirements, such as the foureye butterflyfish (Chaetodon capistratus), the harlequin filefish (Oxymonacanthus longisrostris) and the Hawaiian cleaner wrasse (Labroides phtirophagus), are also commonly traded, albeit in lower numbers. CORALS A total of 140 species of stony coral, nearly all scleractinians, are traded worldwide, with the best estimate of annual global trade ranging between 11 and 12 million pieces. Although difficulties associated with accurate coral identification probably make species data less reliable for corals than for fish, it is clear that species in seven genera (Trachyphyllia, Euphyllia, Goniopora, Acropora, Plerogyra, Catalaphyllia) are the most popular, accounting for approximately 56 per cent of the live coral trade between 1988 and 2002. Sixty-one species of soft coral are also traded, amounting to close to 390,000 pieces per year. Sarcophyton spp. (leather/mushroom/ toadstool coral) and Dendronephthya spp. (carnation coral) are two of the most commonly traded species. However, whilst the biology of the former makes it a hardy, fast-growing and easily propagated species under aquarium conditions, Dendronephthya spp. usually die within a few weeks, mainly due to the fact that they lack photosynthetic symbionts and rely on filtering particles and nutrients in the water column for food. INVERTEBRATES More than 500 species of invertebrates (other than corals) are traded as marine ornamentals, though the lack of a standard taxonomy makes it difficult to arrive at a precise figure. The best estimate of global annual trade ranges between 9 and 10 million animals, mostly molluscs, shrimps and anemones. Two groups of cleaner shrimp, Lysmata spp. and Stenopus spp., and a group of anemones, Heteractis spp., account for approximately 15 per cent of all invertebrates traded.
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