For hundreds of years, songbirds have been caged to meet demand for melodious songs and beautiful plumage. Many songbirds are threatened by illegal and unsustainable trade. Some species found in the wilds of North America end up in cages in other parts of the world, including the European Union (EU). Some of this trade is facilitated by poor enforcement and use of legal loopholes. To tackle this little-known issue, research to support enforcement and inform consumers is needed.
We will investigate the trade of North American songbirds in the EU, looking at the kind and quantities of songbirds traded and the smuggling routes used. We will focus on Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands as they have high songbird trade and demand levels. Investigations will centre on online trade surveys, interviews with authorities/experts and analysis of seizure data to provide a preliminary indication of the legality and sustainability of this trade.
This project will support efforts to uncover and prevent illegal international trade in native North American songbirds. Our objectives are to: 1) Establish baseline data regarding the scale and scope of the trade in native North American songbirds in the EU 2) Establish baseline knowledge regarding the dynamics of the trade in native North American songbirds in the EU 3) Identify future research needs and catalyze conservation and law enforcement action
To eliminate the illegal and unsustainable trade in native North American songbirds in the EU