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Understanding Singapore’s Dynamic Parrot Trade Ecosystem

Oryx – The International Journal of Conservation

The research article, “Understanding Singapore’s Dynamic Parrot Trade Ecosystem” for Oryx is about the live bird trade in Singapore. The study by Nature Society (Singapore), BirdLife International, Mandai Nature and Lancaster Environment Centre takes a novel approach to examining Singapore’s parrot trade by viewing it as an ecosystem of stakeholders in society. Tim Plowden contributed by researching and profiling Singapore’s parrot hobbyist groups by conducting a review of online hobbyist groups. He also redesigned the trade ecosystem diagram.

Tim engaged with some of the more prominent hobbyist groups in Singapore and arranged to take photos at one of the group’s gatherings for publication in the research article and associated blog post.

Singapore Parrot Trade. Copyright © Tim Plowden. All Rights Reserved.
Singapore Parrot Trade
Singapore Parrot Trade
Singapore Parrot Trade
Singapore Parrot Trade. Copyright © Tim Plowden. All Rights Reserved.

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. 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.

Bird Conservation - Oryx cover March 2022 Volume 56 Number 2

Article Details

Publication Title: Oryx

Edition: Volume 56, March 2022, pp. 184 – 194

Format: Research Article

Theme: Bird Conservation

Location: Singapore

Species: Parrots

Keywords: Behaviour change, bird trade, demand reduction, parrot hobbyist, pet trade, sustainable trade, wildlife trade, Singapore

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