Indonesian birds headed for extinction through trade

To: "" <>
Subject: Indonesian birds headed for extinction through trade
From: colin trainor <>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2013 11:39:00 +0930
HI - A forwarded message from Andrew Crossland on his take on bird trade in 
Indonesia (see below).

Many endemic species and subspecies of birds (and other birds), particularly on 
Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan are now almost impossible to see in the wild. They 
are headed for extinction.

Theres been some responses from Conservation groups, local NGOs, TRAFFIC, 
research by Oxford Uni and local collaborators, some early captive breeding 
efforts, but it is a massive issue.

Presumably in a very short time we will be announcing the confirmed loss of 
particular species.

For those interested financial support of OBC, or local NGOs such as PROfauna 
may help. Others might find this issue an interesting research topic, or find 
other ways to spread information on this issue to conservation workers or the 
Indonesian govt.



--- In  "Crossland, Andrew" 
<> wrote:
Just wading in here,

I must say I think the only workable solution on these postings is the

line of argument that David Sharp has presented (below).....

In the context of Indonesia, even if somehow you could get the

politicians, national and local government officials, the police and

army to suspend their dependence on corruption and make the elimination

of the illegal bird trade their one and only priority, you'd be lucky to

cut 20% of that activity.


Because Indonesians like having birds in cages hanging from a hook under

the veranda. 8 out of 10 houses has at least one, some houses have


And thousands upon thousands of people make a living from catching birds

and selling them. Not to the international market, but to neighbours and

people walking past in the street.

And, aside from the thousands of people who catch birds to sell, there's

thousands more that just enjoy walking around a patch of forest or

stalking through a tapioca field, shooting birds randomly with an air


catching stuff and killing stuff is a national past-time. It makes

people happy.

However, clearly both catching and killing birds are fads. But

unfortunately they've been fads for a very long time.

- back to someones earlier analogy of the cessation of smoking in pubs

in England. Maybe in the UK, people stopped because laws were passed and

the police enforced them?

However, in my experience in New Zealand, these types of laws had a

lesser effect - the greater effect was social pressure. The community

had a change in mindset - smokers began to be treated as social

pariahs, told openly that their habit of smoking was considered

disgusting, was a personal weakeness, and was badly affecting the health

of others, especially children. Subsequent to change in public

sentiment against smoking, there remain a core group of grumpy old men

who feel that society has cruelly dumped on them and turned their habit

from being the height of cool in the 1950s to something forced into cold

alley ways and roof tops in the 2010s', but to a younger generation the

fact is now its simply not cool to smoke and many young people don't

want friends or partners to smoke around them.

So - back to Indonesia and the issue of trying to turn society against

the bird trade. The grumpy old men are still probably going to do it no

matter what (even if a tiny number end up becoming bird guides instead),

but it may very well be possible to massively reduce the practise

amongst younger generations, say the under 40s. Picking up on David's

theme, the media and celebrities have enormous influence in Indonesia.

And its cool amongst celebrities to be seen as the national champion of

one cause or another. Already it has become cool amongst young people to

love the environment, go hiking, go camping, even watching nature (look

at the rise in indigenous ornithology in Indonesia in the last decade).

A remarkable change has occurred there in the 20 yrs I've been regularly

visiting. There's a lot of people on the verge of becoming "greenies". I

suggest it is absolutely the right moment to somehow to develop an

alliance between aid/lobby money and a TV writing/directing team to

develop a popular TV series where some of those key messages around

protection of wildlife and the evilness of the bird trade are portrayed.

Use some currently popular actors, and interweave some important key

messages into it.

It might even make my Sumatran brother-in-law's teenage kids to talk

their dad into not getting his army mates to bring him some ore birds of

paradise from Papua when the 6 he's got now have died!


Andrew Crossland

New Zealand


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