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Indonesia has the world’s fourth highest diversity of bird species in the world, sadly Indonesia also has the second highest number of endangered bird species in the world, and most likely the highest in all of Asia. Trapping of birds to be sold as caged pets is one of the highest threats to Indonesia’s bird species. Keeping caged birds in houses is very closely tied with Indonesia’s culture and recent trends of keeping caged birds to win singing competitions are driving up demands for pet birds. Despite having captive breeding facilities, most of Indonesia’s birds are harvested from the wild and then displayed for sale in Indonesia’s traditional bird markets, where birds are kept in small cramped, dirty cages. Casualties due to stress from being captured and transported is common. Usually only 30 – 50% of birds captured make it alive to the bird markets, and even those sold in markets, may malnourished or even die and still remain on display.

The demand for caged birds has been very high that forests have fallen silent, populations have severely declined and some species previously abundantly found in forests have now disappeared. Those that harvest birds are usually local villagers in need for an additional income, and birds harvested are not distinguished whether it is protected or whether its populations have declined. Law enforcement is also not working at its optimal capacity due to lack of knowledge or resources. If this continues, Indonesia may soon see the extinction of many of its beautiful birds.

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Help save the songbirds

What is Wildlife Asia doing?

Through our partner, FLIGHT: Protecting Indonesia’s Birds, we aim to provide support to fund efforts to save birds and prevent them from being illegally sold in atrocious conditions of traditional bird markets. FLIGHT is doing these work in active partnership with the Natural Resources Law Enforcement Agencies (GAKKUM) in Sumatra and Java, and with the Quarantine staff of Bakaheuni Seaport, one of the most active seaports to transport birds from Sumatra to Java. Wildlife Asia also supports FLIGHT in establishing educational materials and outreach activities to train law enforcement staff and further deliver education on importance of allowing birds to live free in the wild.