by Nick Upton
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Mass Trapping of Birds at Chiang Saen

Mist Nets near Chiang Saen
(Photo by Mick Davies)

Today Mick Davies alerted me to a massive escalation of bird trapping in the wetlands around Chiang Saen. Mick found at least 30 mist nets erected in order to catch birds for the purpose of eating and selling at local markets. This type of slaughter is still commonplace in Thailand, despite it being illegal, with most of the large, resident birds already gone, now it is the migrants that are being targeted and presumably this is why many nets have suddenly appeared around Chiang Saen as the autumn migration gets into full swing.

Last year the Yonok Wetlands site was the location of at least 60 mist nets, but it is hoped that this year that number will be zero.

At least one owner of the mist nets was tracked down, who said that locals catch many birds, mostly snipe and egrets, for sale in local markets.

Further to this, Dowroong Danlamajak found in the region of 300 Snipe openly for sale in Chiang Saen market which, she was informed, were captured at night, within the Nong Bing Khai Non-hunting area, using a lamp. Mr Boonpop, the Non-hunting Area chief has been informed about the lamping and mist-netting and has vowed to deal with these problems.

These worrying developments prove how valuable the conservation effort at Yonok is and that without the vigilance of Mick and Dowroong these activites would have proceeded unchecked.

What Mick and Dowroong, and the Yonok villagers, need, above all else, are paying visitors to help fund this conservation effort as well as volunteers to help with surveying: with this development it would appear a survey of local markets would be appropriate to discover the scale of bird trapping in the region.

Stewed Snipe
(Photo by Dowroong Danlamajak)
Nick Upton, 30th September 2007 from information sent to me by Mick Davies. Mick's own comments and further pictures are available here: Yonok Wetlands Project.
I am pleased to announce that Due to Mick's swift action, the Non-hunting Area staff removed over 80 mist nets from 10 locations around Chiang Saen Lake and Yonok Wetlands - hopefully migratory waterbirds will be able to use this sanctuary unmolested.
Nick Upton, 29th October 2007.
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