International Trade of CITES Listed Bird Species in China

Li, Linlin; Jiang, Zhigang
February 2014
PLoS ONE;Feb2014, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Commercial trade of wild birds may devastate wild bird populations. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) controls the trade of wild species listed in its appendices to avoid these species being threatened by international trade. China used to be one of the major trading countries with significant bird trade with foreign countries; on the other hand, China is a country with unique avian fauna, many Important Bird Areas and critically endangered bird species. What is the role of the country in world wild bird trade? What kind of insights can we extract from trade records for improving future management of wild bird trade in the country? We retrieved and analyzed international trade records of the CITES listed bird species of China from 1981 to 2010 from the CITES Trade Database maintained by United Nations Environment Program and World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). We found that: (1) International trade of live birds in China peaked during the late 1990s, then decreased to the level before the surge of trade in a few years, the trade dynamics of wild birds may be affected by governmental policy and the outbreak of avian influenza during the period. (2) Most frequently traded CITES Appendix listed birds in China were parrots, most of which were exotic species to the country. (3) Birds were mainly traded for commercial purpose. Exotic birds in trade were mainly captive-bred while the most Chinese birds traded internationally were captured from the wild. Since many bird species in international trade are threatened to extinction, China should take stricter measures on importing of wild-captured birds and should collaborate with the countries of original in the international bird trade to avoid unsustainable harvesting of wild birds. It is urgent for China to carry out population surveys on those domestic bird species once in significant international trade and to make better conservation decisions based on population status of those birds. In addition, more scientific researchers should be encouraged to participate in the wildlife trade management to avoid misreporting trade data or biased analyses of the trade records.


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