Smuggled for its Song: The Trade in Malaysia’s Oriental Magpie-robins


The Oriental Magpie-robin Copsychus saularis is widespread within the wild in Malaysia and different vary states. But worryingly giant numbers are being intercepted in seizures with at the least 26,950 of the birds confiscated in simply 44 incidents that implicated Malaysia from January 2015 to December 2020. 

The analysis exhibits {that a} staggering 66% of those birds have been smuggled in 2020 alone.  

The report Smuggled for its Tune: The Commerce in Malaysia’s Oriental Magpie-robins reveals that the majority (64%) of the seized birds have been being trafficked from Malaysia to Indonesia. 

“This factors to Malaysian populations of the Oriental Magpie-robin being focused to feed demand in neighbouring nations, notably Indonesia. It additionally signifies an escalation of worldwide trafficking lately to feed the persistent demand for the pet commerce,” stated PERHILITAN Director-Common Dato’ Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim.  

Seizures in Malaysia befell in solely 4 states implicating these as key supply or consolidation factors for smuggling. Massive shipments of the birds have been principally smuggled by sea to Indonesia, with such circumstances involving 17,314 birds. 

The authors recognized larger collaboration between Malaysia and Indonesia as a precedence to analyze and disrupt the trafficking chains that drive the commerce.  

It additionally requires improved authorized protections for the species in Malaysia as it’s not uniformly protected throughout the nation. At current, the Oriental Magpie-robin is just listed as a protected species beneath Sabah’s Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 and never Peninsular Malaysia’s or Sarawak’s wildlife legislation.  

The Oriental Magpie-robin additionally faces demand inside Malaysia. TRAFFIC’s commerce assessments of on-line marketplaces – the place many of the wildlife pet commerce within the nation at the moment takes place – discovered that the Oriental Magpie-robin is without doubt one of the high species recorded on the market.  

Historical past has proven that when sought-after species should not correctly regulated, wild populations might be depleted shortly. Take as an illustration the once-common Straw-headed Bulbul, which has now vanished from a lot of its vary due to commerce.”

Kanitha Krishnasamy, Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia.  

“Establishing a strengthened regulation system might forestall this from occurring to the Oriental Magpie-robin,” Krishnasamy stated. 

The Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus solely stays in Singapore and a few elements of Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo. It was listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN in 2018, on account of trapping strain for commerce.   

The Oriental Magpie-robin was trapped to near-extinction within the wild in Singapore within the 1980’s and required a conservation reintroduction programme to reverse the development.  

“Itemizing this species as Protected throughout the three legal guidelines is step one to improved monitoring and regulation of the commerce by way of a licensing system. That method, its authorized standing and administration is harmonised throughout the nation, and will enable for extra knowledgeable selections to information future efforts,” stated Serene Chng, Programme Officer for TRAFFIC.  

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