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Indonesia’s Birds Plundered to Supply Javan Markets

11 August 2016 | TRAFFIC International News Release

Jakarta, Indonesia, 11th August 2016 — A thriving trade in Indonesia’s native birds exists, well beyond the notorious bird markets of Jakarta, reports a new TRAFFIC study which turns the lens on eastern and central Java.

Nearly 23,000 birds were recorded in five markets in Surabaya, Yogyakarta and Malang during a three-day survey, with clear indication that the vast majority were illegally taken from the wild.

In the market for extinction: eastern and central Java
(PDF, 13 MB) reports that 28 of the 241 species were fully protected under Indonesian law, which means all hunting and trade is prohibited. They included seven Black-winged Mynas Acridotheres melanopterus, a Critically Endangered species found only on Java and Bali, and a single Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush Garrulax rufifrons, an endangered species found only in Java.

Native birds can only be collected according to quotas allocated by the Indonesian authorities. However, no such quotas have been set except in select cases for use as breeding stock for commercial breeding operations.

“The sheer scale of trade is staggering. Almost all of the birds were native to Indonesia, 15% of them found nowhere else on earth—the outlook for some of the country’s wild bird populations is very bleak,” said Serene Chng, Programme Officer and co-author of the new report

This survey follows a similar inventory in Jakarta in 2014, which documented 19,036 birds for sale over a three-day period, and amplifies the threats to wild birds in Indonesia, the country with the highest number of threatened bird species in Asia. There were more Indonesian endemic species and subspecies, particularly from eastern Indonesia, recorded in the eastern and central Java markets compared to Jakarta.

“Most of the birds observed openly for sale in these markets should not be there,” said Dr Chris R. Shepherd, Regional Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia.  “The Indonesian Government should take strong action against the traders involved—it’s time to shut down the illegal bird trade in Indonesia for good.”

TRAFFIC also urges the Government of Indonesia to provide stronger legal protection for species threatened with extinction. This includes the Sumatran Laughingthrush Garrulax bicolor which should be listed as a protected species in the ongoing revision of Indonesia’s wildlife legislation. Another species of concern is the Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati, which was discovered in large numbers in both this study and the previous survey in Jakarta while over a thousand were recorded in a spate of seizures late last year.


For further information, contact:

Elizabeth John, Senior Communications Officer, TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia Tel: 03-7880 3940 Email:

Dr Richard Thomas, Global Communications Co-ordinator, TRAFFIC Tel: +44 1223 651782 Email:

TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC is a strategic alliance of IUCN and WWF.

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