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Quantifying the illegal parrot trade in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, with emphasis on threatened species

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We monitored the illegal pet trade in Los Pozos pet market from August 2004 to July 2005. As indicated in Bolivian law, all unauthorized trade in wild animal species is illegal, especially species considered threatened by IUCN. During this period, we recorded 7,279 individuals of 31 parrot species, including four threatened species, two of which were being transported from Brazil through Bolivia to markets in Peru. The most frequently sold species was the Blue-fronted Parrot Amazona aestiva with 1,468 individuals observed during our study, the majority of which (94%) were believed to have been captured in the wild. Most of the purchased birds remain within Bolivia, while the more expensive, threatened species frequently head to Peru; some individuals may even reach Europe. We believe our study describes only a small proportion of the Bolivian parrot trade, underscoring the potential extent of the illegal pet trade and the need for better Bolivian law enforcement. Resumo Monitoreamos el comercio ilegal de aves en el mercado de mascotas de Los Pozos, desde agosto de 2004 a julio de 2005. De acuerdo a lo que establece la ley boliviana, todo comercio no autorizado de animales salvajes es ilegal, especialmente de especies consideradas Amenazadas por la IUCN. Durante este periodo, grabamos 7.279 individuos de 31 especies de loros, incluyendo 4 especies amenazadas, de las cuales dos fueron transportadas desde Brasil a través de Bolivia hacia mercados en Perú. La especie más frecuentemente vendida fue el Loro Frente Azul Amazona aestiva , con 1.468 individuos observados durante nuestro estudio, de los cuales creemos que un 94% ha sido capturado en su hábitat natural. La mayoría de la compra de aves permanece dentro de Bolivia, mientras que las más caras especies amenazadas, se dirigen a Perú; algunos individuos pueden incluso alcanzar Europa. Creemos que nuestro estudio describe sólo un pequeão porcentaje del comercio de loro boliviano, subrayando el grado potencial del comercio ilegal de mascotas y la necesidad de una mejor aplicación de la ley boliviana.
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... Amazonian countries have historically engaged in wildlife trade, which expands from rural communities to the international trade, interconnecting at urban markets where wildlife is sold for consumption, belief-based use, ornaments, and as pets (Bodmer and Lozano, 2001;El Bizri et al., 2020;Mayor et al., 2022;Regueira and Bernard, 2012;van Vliet et al., 2015). Global estimates of wildlife trade often overlook the domestic market in these countries, with most research focusing on subsistence use of wild meats (Antunes et al., 2016;Bodmer et al., 2004;El Bizri et al., 2020;Mayor et al., 2022;van Vliet et al., 2015), and to a lesser extent live wildlife trafficking (D'Cruze et al., 2021;Shanee, 2012;Shanee et al., 2017) with a strong focus on birds (Daut et al., 2015;Gastañaga et al., 2011;Herrera and Hennessey, 2007;Pereira and de Brito, 2005;Pires, 2015a;Regueira and Bernard, 2012). ...
... On the northern border with Ecuador, we found a constant presence of international consumers and middlemen at the "Aguas Verdes" market in Tumbes. Fifteen species endemic to northwestern coastal forests (Appendix A. Table A3) were found in markets along the Peruvian coast and southern Andes (this study ;Ortiz, 2010;Gastañaga et al., 2011) andin Santa Cruz, Bolivia (Herrera andHennessey, 2007). We cannot know where these species were captured, but their presence in markets far south of their distributions suggests that the northern coast, and in particular Tumbes, is an important area in supplying the domestic trade and a potential point of entry for species smuggled across the border. ...
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Amazonian countries have historically sourced the international wildlife trade. However, little is known about their domestic trade, which is often overlooked in estimates of trafficking. Peruvian law prohibits the unauthorized trade and possession of wildlife, but illegal sales are common in urban markets. To describe the dynamics, diversity, and composition of this illegal trade, we surveyed live wildlife for sale in urban markets in 16 Peruvian departments from 2007 to 2012. We identified the main hotspots of market trafficking, detected 193 species being sold alive, and estimate that 0.35 to 1.25 million animals were trafficked in this period. Iquitos, Lima, Pucallpa, and Tumbes were the most active and diverse trafficking nodes. Amazonian cities trafficked mostly local species, whereas in other cities the proportion of local species varied significantly (39-67%). Species dissimilarity across cities was high and correlated with their distance along trafficking routes. To assess if the market-based trade was representative of the national trade, we compared species richness in markets with that of country-wide confiscations. At least 430 species were confiscated in Peru between 2001-2019, but only 50% of species overlapped with markets in the same cities and period of our surveys. Our data suggest that urban markets are connected in a structured network that provides consumers with a diverse selection of species from across the country. Authorities should consider organizational aspects of trafficking networks to ensure success. Failure to eradicate wildlife trafficking in markets constitutes a serious threat to wildlife conservation and One Health in Peru and beyond.
... However, illegal domestic trade is still widespread [15][16][17] and continues to represent an important threat for parrot populations [18]. Thousands of parrots are sold annually in major wildlife city markets [19][20][21]. Moreover, these numbers may represent only a small percentage of what is annually poached when considering rural areas where pet parrots are not acquired in city markets but are locally trapped [22][23][24][25], and the high mortality during capture and transport before selling them [26]. ...
... This illegal activity occurred not only to supply the international legal trade, but also the domestic demand for pets in neighbor countries. In this sense, illegal trade has been reported from Mexico to the US [40] and from Guatemala to Mexico [45], and several parrots poached in neighboring countries were recorded in illicit markets in Bolivia and Peru [19,20]. Our empirical research on illegal parrot trade in several Neotropical countries ( [36]; Authors, unpubl. ...
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Wildlife trade is a major driver of biodiversity loss worldwide. To regulate its impact, laws and regulations have been implemented at the international and national scales. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has regulated the international legal trade since 1975. However, an important volume of illegal trade—mainly within countries—continues to threaten several vertebrate groups, which could be due to a lack of specific legislation or enforcement of existing regulations. Our aim was to gain a more accurate picture of poaching and legal possession of native parrots as pets in the Neotropics, where illegal domestic trade is currently widespread. We conducted a systematic search of the laws of each of the 50 countries and overseas territories, taking into account their year of implementation and whether the capture, possession and/or sale of parrots is permitted. We compared this information with legal exports reported by CITES to assess differences between the enforcement of international and national trade regulations. We found that only two countries (Guyana and Suriname) currently allow the capture, trade and possession of native parrots, while Peru allowed international legal trade until recently. The other countries have banned parrot trade from years to decades ago. However, the timing of implementation of international and national trade regulations varied greatly between countries, with half of them continuing to export parrots legally years or decades after banning domestic trade. The confusion created by this complex legal system may have hindered the adoption of conservation measures, allowing poaching, keeping and trade of protected species within and between neighboring countries. Most countries legally exported Neotropical parrot species which were not native to those countries, indicating that trans-border smuggling often occurred between neighboring countries prior to their legal exportations, and that this illicit activity continues for the domestic trade. Governments are urged to effectively implement current legislation that prohibits the trapping and domestic trade of native parrots, but also to develop coordinated alliances and efforts to halt illegal trade among them. Otherwise, illegal trade will continue to erode the already threatened populations of a large number of parrot species across the Neotropics.
... In Australia for example, biotelemetry tracking data used for Endangered white shark research was misused to locate and kill tagged animals who got close to bathing beaches (Meeuwig et al., 2015). Additionally, the use of the internet has amplified the exotic pet trade industry (Morgan & Chng, 2017), which is a major driver of threatened species poaching (Herrera & Hennessey, 2007;McMillan et al., 2020). To mitigate some of these threats, CS programs like iNaturalist and eBird have taken steps to prevent the access to exact locations of rare or threatened species, by obscuring or completely hiding the locations. ...
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Finding ways of efficiently monitoring threatened species can be critical to effective conservation. The global proliferation of community science (also called citizen science) programs, like iNaturalist, presents a potential alternative or complement to conventional threatened species monitoring. Using a case study of ~700,000 observations of >10,000 IUCN Red List Threatened species within iNaturalist observations, we illustrate the potential risks and rewards of using community science to monitor threatened species. Poor data quality and risks of sending untrained volunteers to sample species that are sensitive to disturbance or harvesting are key barriers to overcome. Yet community science can expand the breadth of monitoring at little extra cost, while indirectly benefiting conservation through outreach and education. We conclude with a list of actionable recommendations to further mitigate the risks and capitalize on the rewards of community science as a threatened species monitoring tool. Finding ways of efficiently monitoring threatened species can be critical to effective conservation. Community science provides a potential alternative or complement to conventional threatened species monitoring, but there are some risks. Here, we provide some recommendations to mitigate the risks and capitalize on the rewards of community science as a threatened species monitoring tool.
... However, the online trade has been reported to sell more diverse taxa, including prohibited and threatened species, because of poor regulations, particularly on dark webs and social media (Gippet & Bertelsmeier, 2021;Shivambu et al., 2020aShivambu et al., , 2021aSiriwat & Nijman, 2018;Spee et al., 2019). Species such as Macaws Ara spp., Amazon parrots Amazona spp., African grey parrots Psittacus erithacus and some tarantula groups have become vulnerable to extinction as a result of the pet trade (Herrera & Hennessey, 2007Tella & Hiraldo, 2014). Pet trade has also contributed to the introduction of invasive species with the risk of threatening biodiversity, agriculture and spreading of zoonotic diseases (Harrington et al., 2019;Kawai et al., 2015;Pfliegler et al., 2018;Postigo et al., 2017;Rosen & Smith, 2010). ...
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Non‐native species have been translocated from their native to new geographic ranges through the pet trade. Consequently, some become threatened with extinction, while some establish and become invasive. We surveyed 117 physical pet stores across South Africa between September 2018 and September 2019 to determine avian species composition, availability, price and IUCN status. We reviewed the literature to determine which avian species have established populations outside captivity, including their impacts and clutch sizes. We recorded 169 avian species from 26 families, of which 147 were non‐natives. Psittacidae (23%) and Estrildidae (20%) were the most available families. The budgerigar Melopsittacus undulatus, zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata, and Fischer's lovebird Agapornis fischeri were the most available species recorded in all the provinces. Most species were listed as least concern (78%) and sold at lower prices, while threatened species were rarely available and sold at higher prices. Only 14 avian species have established populations outside captivity, with most associated with agricultural impact. In addition, six of these 14 species were among the top 20 most traded and have been observed outside captivity in South Africa. Assessing the trade of avian species is essential for conservation and invasive species management. The results from this study may help improve early surveillance for detecting the establishment of potential invasive avian species. Des espèces non indigènes ont été transférées de leur aire d'origine vers de nouvelles aires géographiques par le biais du commerce des animaux de compagnie. Par conséquent, certaines sont menacées d'extinction, tandis que d'autres s'établissent et deviennent envahissantes. Nous avons interrogé 117 animaleries physiques en Afrique du Sud entre septembre 2018 et septembre 2019 afin de déterminer la composition, la disponibilité, le prix et le statut de conservation UICN des espèces aviaires. Nous avons passé la littérature en revue afin de déterminer quelles espèces aviaires avaient établi des populations en dehors de la captivité, y compris leurs impacts et les tailles de leurs pontes. Nous avons enregistré 169 espèces aviaires provenant de 26 familles, dont 147 étaient non indigènes. Les Psittacidae (23 %) et les Estrildidae (20%) étaient les familles les plus répandues. La perruche ondulée Melopsittacus undulatus, le diamant mandarin Taeniopygia guttata et l'inséparable de Fischer Agapornis fischeri étaient les espèces les plus répandues enregistrées dans toutes les provinces. La plupart des espèces étaient répertoriées comme moins préoccupantes (78 %) et vendues à des prix inférieurs, tandis que les espèces menacées étaient peu répandues et vendues à des prix plus élevés. Seules 14 espèces aviaires présentent des populations établies en dehors de la captivité, la plupart étant associées aux répercussions de nature agricole. De plus, six de ces 14 espèces figuraient parmi les 20 espèces les plus commercialisées. Elles ont été observées en dehors de la captivité en Afrique du Sud. L'évaluation du commerce des espèces aviaires est essentielle pour la conservation et la gestion des espèces envahissantes. Les résultats de cette étude peuvent permettre d’améliorer la surveillance précoce visant à détecter l'établissement potentiel d'espèces aviaires envahissantes.
... Regarding avian species, population decline has been associated with trapping and illegal commercialization globally, with situations ranging from a decrease in local populations most vulnerable to selective hunting and capture [10], to an overall global population decline of migratory avian species chased by local bird trappers and hunters [11]. Considering such consequences, some authors suggest law implementation and enforcement as one the most effective ways to protect local avian populations [23,61,62]. ...
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Background Illegal capture and trade of wild birds are some of the most present types of wildlife trade in Brazil, and are often associated with cultural and socioenvironmental aspects. Those habits are particularly present in rural communities, where bird trade can be a source of income in dire economic situations and bird-keeping is a cultural trait passed down from generations. Methods We conducted a series of semi-structured interviews with bird-keepers and traders within the surrounding region of the Parque Nacional de Boa Nova , inquiring about local customs and practices related to bird-keeping, bird trade and bird capture, as well as how these were affected by the establishment of protected areas nearby. We then outlined the main trends and perceptions in a quantitative and a qualitative approach. Results A total of 21 avian species were mentioned as being used as pets and in commercialization, contests and breeding, most of them occurring naturally in the region. Most respondents were men possessing low levels of education and income. We observed a series of specialized practices regarding bird-keeping, from basic maintenance of captive individuals in order to ensure the animal’s health, to interspecies breeding as to produce hybrid individuals. Mentioned methods used to capture wild birds often involved specialized traps and were conducted mainly within the national park’s area. Bird trade was said to occur mostly in urban settlements, and the value of captive birds was said to vary, based on species and beforehand training. The official establishment of the protected area impaired all practices related to bird-keeping and trade, mostly as a result of increased surveillance by environmental agencies. Conclusion The collected information presents a series of specialized habits and practices involved in bird-keeping, bird capture and bird trade, many of them being associated with the local avifauna surrounding the region. The establishment of protected areas affected local perceptions regarding bird-keeping and related practices mostly through fear of penalty, although individuals demonstrated some knowledge about how to evade surveillance. We recommend further studies about effective ways to integrate local communities in nearby protected areas’ conservation.
... Some progress has also been made as some countries have enacted new legislation to protect wild parrots including (e.g., Mexico, Nicaragua). However, thriving domestic parrot trade has been reported for Bolivia (Herrera and Hennessey, 2007), Brazil (Alves et al., 2013), Mexico (Cantú Guzmán et al., 2007), and Peru (González, 2003;Weston and Memon, 2009;Gastañaga et al., 2011;Daut et al., 2015), with additional reports of continued poaching in several other countries (Wright et al., 2001;Zager et al., 2009;Masello et al., 2011;Monterrubio-Rico et al., 2014;Rivera et al., 2014). Our data were not designed to detect historical changes in threats, but few authors reported domestic pet trade only as a historical threat. ...
... Some progress has also been made as some countries have enacted new legislation to protect wild parrots including (e.g., Mexico, Nicaragua). However, thriving domestic parrot trade has been reported for Bolivia (Herrera and Hennessey, 2007), Brazil (Alves et al., 2013), Mexico (Cantú Guzmán et al., 2007), and Peru (González, 2003;Weston and Memon, 2009;Gastañaga et al., 2011;Daut et al., 2015), with additional reports of continued poaching in several other countries (Wright et al., 2001;Zager et al., 2009;Masello et al., 2011;Monterrubio-Rico et al., 2014;Rivera et al., 2014). Our data were not designed to detect historical changes in threats, but few authors reported domestic pet trade only as a historical threat. ...
... Some progress has also been made as some countries have enacted new legislation to protect wild parrots including (e.g., Mexico, Nicaragua). However, thriving domestic parrot trade has been reported for Bolivia (Herrera and Hennessey, 2007), Brazil (Alves et al., 2013), Mexico (Cantú Guzmán et al., 2007), and Peru (González, 2003;Weston and Memon, 2009;Gastañaga et al., 2011;Daut et al., 2015), with additional reports of continued poaching in several other countries (Wright et al., 2001;Zager et al., 2009;Masello et al., 2011;Monterrubio-Rico et al., 2014;Rivera et al., 2014). Our data were not designed to detect historical changes in threats, but few authors reported domestic pet trade only as a historical threat. ...
Article
The ‘Critically Endangered’ Red-fronted Macaw is endemic to seasonally dry, rain-shadowed valleys in the south-central Andes of Bolivia. The remoteness and inaccessibility of most of this region have hampered the rigorous collection of reliable range-wide data on the species’ global, local and breeding population sizes. Such data are imperative, however, for effective conservation and management. Estimated to number up to 5,000 birds in the early 1980s, the most recent and thorough survey to date reported a total of only 807 macaws and a breeding population fraction of about 20% in 2011, disjunctly distributed across eight breeding and six foraging areas and divided into four genetic clusters. Ten years later, we reassessed the species’ population sizes and breeding distribution with increased survey effort and geographic coverage. Six teams simultaneously surveyed different sections of the species’ entire known breeding range in four watersheds focusing on nesting sites. We estimated a global population size of 1,160 macaws, a breeding population fraction of 23.8–27.4% (138–159 nesting pairs) and discovered four new breeding areas. Watersheds and breeding areas differed widely in nesting pair and total macaw numbers. The Mizque watershed held 53% of the species’ breeding and 41.5% of its global population and had the highest breeding population fraction of 30.7–34.9%; the Pilcomayo watershed obtained the lowest values (6%, 8.5% and 14.1–18.2%, respectively). Two of the four documented genetic clusters (subpopulations) each held well over 50 breeding individuals. Two of the eight breeding areas documented in 2011 were found unoccupied in 2021. Numbers of nesting pairs per breeding area in 2011 were poorly correlated with those in 2021, and timing of breeding activities also differed between years. Our new data indicate that the Red-fronted Macaw no longer meets IUCN Red List criteria for ‘Critically Endangered’ species and that it should be downlisted to ‘Endangered.’
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The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) regulates international legal trade to prevent the detrimental harvest of wildlife. We assess the volumes of threatened and non-threatened bird, mammal, amphibian, and reptile species in the CITES-managed trade and how this trade responded to category changes of species in the IUCN Red List between 2000 and 2018. In this period, over a thousand wild-sourced vertebrate species were commercially traded. Species of least conservation concern had the highest yearly trade volumes (excluding birds), whereas species in most Red List categories showed an overall decrease in trade reoccurrence and volume through time, with most species unlikely to reoccur in recent trade. Charismatic species with populations split-listed between Appendices I and II were traded in substantially lower yearly volumes when sourced from the more-threatened Appendix I populations. Species trade volumes did not systematically respond to changes in the Red List category, with 31.0% of species disappearing from trade before changing category and the majority of species revealing no difference in trade volumes from pre- to post-change. Just 2.7% (12/432) of species volumes declined and 2.1% (9/432) of volumes increased after a category change. Our findings highlight that non-threatened species dominate trade but reveal small numbers of highly threatened species in trade and a disconnect between species trade volumes and changing extinction risk. We highlight potential drawbacks in the current regulation of trade in listed species and urgently call for open and accessible assessments-non-detriment findings-robustly evidencing the sustainable use of threatened and non-threatened species alike.
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