18 Jul 2012

Study shows Solomons used for bird trafficking

6:20 pm on 18 July 2012

A wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC, says tens of thousands of wild birds have been illegally smuggled into Solomon Islands and then laundered into the international market.

A study from TRAFFIC says between 2000 and 2010 about 68,000 birds were exported from Solomon Islands, and over 54,000 were declared as captive-bred.

But its Southeast Asia deputy director, Chris Shepherd, says there are no captive breeding facilities in Solomon Islands.

He says most of the birds laundered come into the country illegally from Indonesia, and the rest are native birds from the wild.

"Some of them are being declared as being from the wild, but the majority are declared as captive-bred and that's where the real problem lies given that there isn't any commercial breeding facilities, especially facilities that can produce these numbers, for many of these species that are threatened it could have a serious conservation impact, taking these birds out of the wild, especially birds that are confined to just one island or a few islands, it doesn't take much pressure to greatly reduce their populations and become a serious conservation problem."

Chris Shepherd says the majority of the birds are exported to Singapore, where they are then laundered to the wider international community.