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Illegal Wildlife Trade Flourishing at Chatuchak Market
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On 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.

Other wildlife that was openly offered for sale included reptiles, amphibians and birds.

A brief count of all the native bird species that were obviously illegally obtained and for sale was taken:

Brown Hawk Owl - 2
Spotted Owlet - 13 juveniles across 4 different shops
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

Please report any similar sightings to me and the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand.

Nick Upton, 18th March 2008.

Wild Birds For Sale at Chatuchak Market (again)

Wild birds for sale at Chatuchak Market were reported on Ike Suriwong's Phuket Birders Blog on the 19th November and are reproduced here with his kind permission.

"In Bangkok’s notorious Chatuchak market I found a stall selling the following birds:

-3 Chestnut Capped Bee Eaters
-2 Hill Myna
-2 Asian Fairy Bluebirds
-1 Collared Scops Owl
-1 Green Magpie
-2 Lineated Barbets
-4 Bulbuls in such a sorry state I could not clearly identify them

There was also a shop further down selling about six Blue-Crowned Parrots for 2300 a bird.

There were a few shops in the market section selling juvenile Alexandrine Parakeets. Pretty sad to see this."

Notorious is a good word to describe this market as the illegal wildlife trade has always been in operation there. On 8 September 2002, I saw a Besra, two fledgling Blue-winged Pittas, and a Slow Loris being openly offered for sale, along with a number of other small birds, many of which were difficult to identify because of their poor condition. I haven't returned since then as it is too depressing.

Any similar sightings can be e-mailed to me and I will pass them onto the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand.

Nick Upton, 14th December 2006.
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Related Pages: Bird Persecution , Wildlife Abuse , Dead Birds at Muang Boran Fishponds , Mass Trapping of Birds at Chiang Saen , Birds Dead and Dying at Muang Boran Fishponds newsletter -
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