Currently, over 600,000 birds are trapped and traded every year in Indonesia, among thousands of other species.
Demand for wild birds is rooted in culture.
Bird keeping in Indonesia is not only a popular past time and hobby, but in many western cities is a sign of wealth, sophistication, and stature. Jepson and Ladle (2005) surveyed Indonesia’s five largest cities and found that nearly a quarter (~22%) of all households owned at least one bird. It was also estimated that in an average year as many as 614,180 native songbirds were trapped and traded nationally throughout Java and Sumatra. This is a significant number when considering that even species listed as ‘least concern’ host populations of less than 3,000 individuals.
However, past attempts to curtail the trade have failed because of their lack consideration with local livelihoods. Using our bottom-up client-driven approach this program attempts to break this negative cycle of human poverty and environmental degradation by providing business solutions for low-income trapping communities. We help communities identify profit-making strategies through our communal business approach.
What are we doing about this?
Monitoring and data generation
Our staff is providing the first ever surveys of animal markets in Western Borneo. Moreover, we are providing the first study ever in Borneo no the impacts of the trapping and hunting on bird populations in Gunung Palung National Park. Our team is utilizing modern modelling techniques to shed light on the severity of the trade.
In 2016 Planet Indonesia was selected as a winner of the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge. We will work with our partners OceanWise and the Wildlife Conservation Society to develop a smart phone that can help stop species extinctions.
FROM RESEARCH TO SMART PHONES
We are in the process of developing a smartphone app will allow users to collect data in Indonesian bird markets, notorious for their scale and the ease with which people can buy rare and endangered birds. The user, while pretending to send a text, will instead collect data on species, price, and origin. The app will help standardize data collection and even help users identify species.
PARROT CONSERVATION: INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIP
We are partnered with the Indonesian Parrot Project to conserve one of the world's rarest parrot species, the Abbotti's Cockatoo. Historically, illegal trapping and trade have devastated this species, with at one time only 7 individuals left in the wild. We are working with the parrot project to protect local habitat (particularly mangroves forests) through founding local business groups that sustainably harvest and create products from local mangrove trees (e.g. candies, oil, fish, crab). By providing economic incentives we are furthering sustainable development in the area while protecting important habitat for one of the world's rarest parrot species.
LAW ENFORCEMENT AND TRAINING
Planet Indonesia is looking to tackle all sides of this urgent issue. While we are focused on supporting local livelihoods for low-income communities, we realize the complex nature of this issue requires a multi-level approach. Therefore, we are looking to utilize modern technology (e.g. smartphone applications) and training programs to enhance the effectiveness of local law enforcement, citizen science, and data collection. Stay tuned for details as this area of our work develops.