Sunday 16th March 2008 the illegal trade in wildlife was once again
in full swing at Chatuchak Market. The pet section of the market
has moved further around the back since my last visit and is now
a little harder to stumble across - perhaps this has been done on
purpose so that fewer foreigners come across these illegal activities
and report them?
The trade in
small squirrels has grown over the years and now there are a large
number of vendors offering these poor unfortunate creatures for
sale; typically they are tethered to their cages or owners by less
than 1 foot of string or enclosed in a tiny cage with barely enough
room to turn around. There were far too many of these animals to
count but a sensible estimate would be around 250-300 squirrels
for sale across the market.
that was openly offered for sale included reptiles, amphibians and
A brief count
of all the native bird species that were obviously illegally obtained
and for sale was taken:
Hawk Owl - 2
Spotted Owlet - 13 juveniles across 4 different
Asian Barred Owlet - 1
Collared Scops Owl - 1 adult 2 juv
Hill Myna - 3 nestlings
Red-breasted Parakeet - 1 nestling
Scarlet Minivet - 1 female
Golden-fronted Leafbird - 3
White-rumped Shama - 3 males
Red-whiskered Bulbul - too many to count
Asian Koel - 1 nestling
Silver-eared Mesia - 3
Black-throated Laughingthrush - 1
Raptor sp. (Probably a Hawk Eagle) - 1 juvenile
This list illustrates
that the illegal trade in birds is as bad, if not worse, than ever
at Chatuchak Market.
It is also obviously
widely known that these activities are illegal as virtually all
the vendors offering these species for sale had signs in Thai and
English that said "No Photos" - vendors who were dealing
in legal and captive-bred creatures did not display these signs.
With some secrecy
it is possible, however, to obtain a few photos, albeit of rather
poor quality. Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Squirrels in Cages
Squirrels tied to Cage
Squirrel tied to Vendor
Birds for Sale
2 Golden-fronted Leafbirds in Cage
any similar sightings to me email@example.com
and the Bird
Conservation Society of Thailand.
Upton, 18th March 2008.