Re: Export of native species

Subject: Re: Export of native species
From: Lawrie Conole <>
Date: Thu, 28 Nov 1996 15:56:58 +1000 (EET)
On Tue, 26 Nov 1996  wrote:

> In context I understand this to mean that whilst good money could be earned,
> possibly for conservation, in the short term the market would be quickly
> flooded. Consequently the long term benefits could well be marginal. I'm
> inclined to agreee.

That depends on the main aim doesn't it?  -- ie. (i) making money for
conservation, or (ii) flooding the market (ie. stop black market making
money, & thereby theoretically reducing poaching pressure).  I don't know
whether either of those aims are viable, but maybe they are slightly
different and should be seen as such. 

> A second consideration, however, is the effect the high prices might have on
> overseas populations, eg Indonesian bird species. High prices might
> encourage only a few Australian smugglers; but high prices are a huge
> incentive to Indonesian bird dealers where there are fewer real deterrents
> to smuggling.

Recently reading a 1994 copy of the Oriental Bird Club Bulletin, I noticed
a study by BirdLife International that suggested there were between
250,000 - 450,000 Tanimbar Corellas on Tanimbar.  That sort of assessment
might be an incentive to Tanimbarese to catch & sell even more than they
do already, especially as about 10-15% of the total estimated cocky
population on the island spends its time destroying 10-15% of the maize
crop.  Apparently each village has a full time cocky catcher!! 

Economic damage by the birds to crops is probably as significant an
incentive to trap them as is the relatively lucrative practice of selling
them to bird dealers.  Compared to the prices Australian smugglers get, I
suspect the Tanimbarese make do with relatively miniscule amounts of $$$s. 
Perhaps then the legal sale of Australian birds would have little or no
bearing on the Indonesian market; however, it almost certainly would not
improve matters any.  

Capture and sale of Tanimbar Corellas is something of a cottage industry,
and after being provided with such a high population estimate by a
respectable NGO, and with the knowledge that it is a localised crop pest,
the Indonesian government is unlikely to do very much to stop it. 

Lawrie Conole
Geelong, Victoria, Australia


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