Global trade in parrots – Influential factors of trade and implications for conservation
Parrots are the most traded birds internationally, mainly to be used as companion pets, which threatens the global biodiversity. Using the large dataset derived from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), we uncovered the spatial-temporal changes in trade volumes and sources of parrots, the topology of the trade network, and the factors behind the global parrot trade in the past 42 years (1975–2016). We found that more than 16 million live CITES-listed parrots in 321 species were traded internationally within that period. There were large changes in the temporal trend of global parrot trade volumes and spatial patterns of trade hubs. These changes appeared to be influenced by the trade restrictions in some of the leading traders and the occurrence of pandemic zoonosis, such as the H5N1 avian influenza. Developing states in Western and Southeast Asia have emerged as the most recently developed parrot trade hubs, with South Africa and Europe being some of the major suppliers. The sources of parrots being supplied internationally has also gradually shifted from wild-caught to captive-sourced. Wild-caught individuals of some parrot species, currently classified as Endangered, were traded substantially until 2013. We demonstrated that parrot species with larger wild population sizes, more color morphs, and those in the Least Concern category of the IUCN Red List, were being traded internationally in higher quantities. The GDP per capita and the aging index of states were also correlated with the net import quantities of parrots. Based on our findings, we suggested that greater scrutiny of parrots traded in large volumes, many of which are not monitored in the wild, should be considered. We advocate the uplisting of a few endangered species from Appendix II to I, using an accreditation system to prevent the laundering of wild-caught parrots into captive-bred ones, and conducting more research on newly emerged importers to protect wild parrot populations.