Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

New Research Exposes Illegal Exotic Bird Trade

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Dr Vincent Nijman, Reader in Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University, has co-authored a report for the wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC, exposing the illegal trade in exotic birds from the Solomon Islands. A large number of globally threatened birds are included on the Appendices of the International Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) precluding or regulating international trade. International trade regulations are more relaxed for animals that have been bred in captivity as this should not impact populations in the wild. The new report - entitled 'The export and re-export of CITES-listed birds from the Solomon Islands' - reveals that exporters from the Solomon Islands are falsely claiming that the birds they are trading have been bred in captivity. These include birds-of-paradise which are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity, and only a few specialized centres have ever succeeded in breeding them. Birds-of-paradise do not occur in the Solomon Islands, and there are no records of birds-of-paradise ever being imported into the country raising questions on how breeding facilities acquired their stock. The report recommends an investigation into captive breeding operations in the Solomon Islands is carried out through CITES processes. If irregularities are found, the CITES Secretariat ultimately has the authority to suspend all trade in CITES-listed species from the island archipelago. The export and re-export of CITES-listed birds from the Solomon Islands' (pdf)