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Illegal trade pushing the Critically Endangered Black-winged Myna Acridotheres melanopterus towards imminent extinction


The Critically Endangered Black-winged Myna Acridotheres melanopterus is being pushed towards the brink of extinction in Indonesia due to continued demand for it as a cage bird and the lack of enforcement of national laws set in place to protect it. The trade in this species is largely to supply domestic demand, although an unknown level of international demand also persists. We conducted five surveys of three of Indonesia’s largest open bird markets (Pramuka, Barito and Jatinegara), all of which are located in the capital Jakarta, between July 2010 and July 2014. No Black-winged Mynas were observed in Jatinegara, singles or pairs were observed during every survey in Barito, whereas up to 14 birds at a time were present at Pramuka. The average number of birds observed per survey is about a quarter of what it was in the 1990s when, on average, some 30 Black-winged Mynas were present at Pramuka and Barito markets. Current asking prices in Jakarta are high, with unbartered quotes averaging USD 220 per bird. Our surveys of the markets in Jakarta illustrate an ongoing and open trade. Dealers blatantly ignore national legislation and are fearless of enforcement actions. Commercial captive breeding is unlikely to remove pressure from remaining wild populations of Black-winged Mynas. Efforts to end the illegal trade in this species and to allow wild populations to recover are urgently needed. We also recommend the immediate inclusion of Black-winged Mynas in Appendix III of CITES to allow for international support to Indonesia in clamping down on international trade of the species.

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Bird Conservation International
  • ISSN: 0959-2709
  • EISSN: 1474-0001
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