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Conserv Biol. 2017 Apr;31(2):394-405. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12729. Epub 2016 Mar 31.

Measuring the impact of the pet trade on Indonesian birds.

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Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 08544, U.S.A.
Rainforest Trust, 7078 Airlie Road, Warrenton, VA, 20187, U.S.A.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, 06269, U.S.A.
Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Barry Drive, Acton, ACT, 0200, Australia.
South-east Asian Biodiversity Society, 504 Choa Chu Kang Street 51, 680504, Singapore.
Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC, 27708, U.S.A.
Wildlife Conservation Society-Indonesia Programme, Jl. Atletik No. 8, Tanah Sareal, Bogor, 16161, Indonesia.
Division of Zoology, Research Centre for Biology-LIPI, Jl. Raya Bogor Km 46, Cibinong Science Centre, Bogor, 16911, Indonesia.
Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112, U.S.A.
KuzeyDoğa Derneği, Ortakapı Mah, Șehit Yusuf Cad., No 93/1, 36100, Kars, Turkey.
School of Environment, University of Auckland, Aukland, 1010, New Zealand.
Research Center for Climate Change, Universitas Indonesia, Gd. PAU lt. 8,5. Kampus UI Depok, Depok, 16422, Indonesia.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 08544, U.S.A.


The trade in wild animals involves one-third of the world's bird species and thousands of other vertebrate species. Although a few species are imperiled as a result of the wildlife trade, the lack of field studies makes it difficult to gauge how serious a threat it is to biodiversity. We used data on changes in bird abundances across space and time and information from trapper interviews to evaluate the effects of trapping wild birds for the pet trade in Sumatra, Indonesia. To analyze changes in bird abundance over time, we used data gathered over 14 years of repeated bird surveys in a 900-ha forest in southern Sumatra. In northern Sumatra, we surveyed birds along a gradient of trapping accessibility, from the edge of roads to 5 km into the forest interior. We interviewed 49 bird trappers in northern Sumatra to learn which species they targeted and how far they went into the forest to trap. We used prices from Sumatran bird markets as a proxy for demand and, therefore, trapping pressure. Market price was a significant predictor of species declines over time in southern Sumatra (e.g., given a market price increase of approximately $50, the log change in abundance per year decreased by 0.06 on average). This result indicates a link between the market-based pet trade and community-wide species declines. In northern Sumatra, price and change in abundance were not related to remoteness (distance from the nearest road). However, based on our field surveys, high-value species were rare or absent across this region. The median maximum distance trappers went into the forest each day was 5.0 km. This suggests that trapping has depleted bird populations across our remoteness gradient. We found that less than half of Sumatra's remaining forests are >5 km from a major road. Our results suggest that trapping for the pet trade threatens birds in Sumatra. Given the popularity of pet birds across Southeast Asia, additional studies are urgently needed to determine the extent and magnitude of the threat posed by the pet trade.


Sumatra; declinación; decline; mercado de vida silvestre; overexploitation; población silvestre; sobre-explotación; trampeo; trapping; wild population; wildlife trade


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