Some 8,047 birds belonging to 115 species were offered for sale in the country’s largest cities, Hà Nội and HCM City.

Of the thousands of birds observed recently, over 99 per cent were of species native to Việt Nam, while regulations governing the trade exist for only some 771 (10 per cent) of the total: indeed, nine of the 10 most abundant species recorded during the survey were not subject to any trade controls under Vietnamese legislation.

“The survey findings are consistent with a thriving demand for native birds within Việt Nam,” Kanitha Krishnasamy, acting regional director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia, said.

“However, as trade in most of the species seen is not regulated by law, it means large numbers of birds are being extracted with no oversight of sustainability or how severely it will impact wild populations.”

She said the survey showed a rise in the number of species and individuals for sale since previous studies in 1991, 1998, 2001, and 2008, adding that the numbers, the array of species and large number of immature birds for sale were all a sign of the need for improved monitoring of the trade including regulation of offtake and oversight of any ranching or captive breeding operations.

Scaly-breasted munias (21 per cent) and red-whiskered bulbuls (15 per cent) were most abundant in the survey, together adding up to around 3,000 individuals. Both are legally tradeable. The latter, popular in the cage-bird trade, was also one of the most abundant species previously recorded by TRAFFIC in the Singapore and Bangkok bird markets.

The report recommends improved monitoring and regulation of the harvest and trade of wild caught bird species to ensure they do not negatively affect wild populations.

The authors specifically call for Việt Nam’s current legislation to include range-restricted endemic birds and species assessed as globally threatened in the IUCN Red List.

“TRAFFIC stands ready to support Vietnamese authorities in any effort to review and strengthen current regulations,” Madelon Willemsen, head of TRAFFIC’s Việt Nam office, said.

“We will continue to provide information on the levels of bird trade in Việt Nam. This critical knowledge will help to identify the need and urgency to adjust policies and regulations so that Việt Nam meets its international commitments on conserving biodiversity.”

The “Caged in the city: an inventory of birds for sale in Hà Nội and HCM City, Việt Nam” report marks TRAFFIC’s sixth inventory of notable bird markets in the region, the others being Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, collectively recording 60,000 birds being traded.

Vietnam News - September 22, 2017