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Shades of grey: the legal trade in CITES-listed birds in Singapore, notably the globally threatened African grey parrot Psittacus erithacus

  • Colin M. Poole (a1) and Chris R. Shepherd (a2)

There are few published studies quantifying the volume of wildlife being traded through Singapore. We report on Singapore's involvement in the trade of avifauna listed on CITES based on government-reported data to CITES, with particular emphasis on Singapore's role in the trade of the globally threatened African grey parrot Psittacus erithacus. During 2005–2014 Singapore reported commercial import permits for 225,561 birds, from 35 countries, listed on CITES Appendices I and II, and the export of 136,912 similarly listed birds to 37 countries, highlighting the country's role as a major international transshipment hub for the global aviculture industry. Major exporters to Singapore included the Solomon Islands, the Netherlands, Taiwan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Africa. Major importers from Singapore included Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates and Japan. Singapore imported significant quantities of CITES-listed birds from African countries, including the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea and South Africa, a number of which have a history of abuse of CITES export permits, discrepancies in reported trade data, or an acknowledged lack of wildlife law enforcement capacity. Significant discrepancies were detected between import and export figures of CITES-listed avifauna reported by Singapore and its trading partners. Based on these findings we present three recommendations to improve the regulation and monitoring of the trade in CITES-listed bird species in Singapore.

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