Re: birding-aus Birds in Captivity (was Re: Spotted Bowerbird)

Subject: Re: birding-aus Birds in Captivity (was Re: Spotted Bowerbird)
From: Mike Owen <>
Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 21:59:10 +1000

Vicki Parslow Stafford wrote:

> What gives?  Can anyone enlighten me as to how these and other species,
> which cannot be kept simply as pets or traded in here in Australia, have
> come to be so common in the US.  Is this purely as a result of illegal
> trade, or are there legitimate avenues for this to occur?

Large numbers of Australian birds were exported legally from
Australia up until, I think, the early 1950's.  I would guess
that Kookaburras would have been quite a common export item given
their unique call.  Since they breed easily in captivity it would
be quite feasible that those to be found overseas are decendents
of the early exports. 

As to other groups such as mammals and reptiles, I have no idea
how they have become common overseas but can make a fw guesses. 
It is obvious from discussions I have seen on USA mail lists that
smuggling of reptiles is common.  Many species of Australian
reptiles found in the USA have only become available in the last
ten years with the explosion in popularity of reptiles as pets in
the USA. Smuggling a wallaby sounds a pretty big challenge

I believe that the only legal way such mammals can go overseas is
part of Zoo to Zoo exchanges.  It is quite possible I guess that
zoos that are successful in breeding Australian mammals obtained
by legal zoo exchange might sell excess stock to the open
market.  That has certainly happened with Australian parrots with
at least one zoo having sold large numbers of excess zoo-bred
lorikeets onto the open market.  


Mike Owen
Sunshine Coast
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