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
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
--- In "Crossland, Andrew"
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
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!
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