Understanding Singapore's dynamic parrot trade ecosystem

Jain, A. and Aloysius, S.L.M. and Lim, H. and Plowden, T. and Yong, D.L. and Lee, J.G. and Phelps, J. (2022) Understanding Singapore's dynamic parrot trade ecosystem. ORYX, 56 (2). pp. 184-194. ISSN 0030-6053

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Singapore is prominent in the global trade of pet birds, primarily parrots. This includes its role as a key international transit hub, and also its growing domestic market, including for threatened species. There is a need to understand the trade beyond volumes and flows, including consumer knowledge, preferences and behaviours, and interactions with vendors, hobbyist groups and supporting industries. We used three methods to examine this: (1) a questionnaire with stakeholders (including parrot owners, hobbyist group members, breeders and supporting industry professionals), about the motivations for parrot ownership and interest in sustainable trade, (2) semi-structured interviews with key informants about trade dynamics, and (3) a review of online hobbyist groups. Based on our findings, we provide an initial mapping of the country's parrot trade ecosystem. Fifty-one per cent of respondents claimed to be a member of a parrot hobbyist group and 64% agreed their participation in such groups had encouraged them to purchase more parrots. The majority (71%) of parrot owners reported a preference for captive-bred rather than wild-caught parrots, and 72% were concerned about the illegal hunting of parrots for commercial trade. Most were willing to pay more (70%) and wait longer (73%) to procure a sustainably sourced parrot. Our approach presents the wildlife trade as a complex social phenomenon, with multiple physical and online channels, regulatory challenges, social networks, and evolving consumer preferences. We also document the pivotal role of hobbyist groups and their untapped potential to leverage these networks to improve sustainable trade.

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13 Sep 2021 14:40
Last Modified:
10 Dec 2022 03:20