The government has assigned the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) to conduct a public hearing on whether to remove the red-whiskered bulbul from the list of protected species, which would allow people to raise the bird for commercial purposes.
The government will encourage the breeding of this passerine bird that is native to Asia as a local animal, further boosting the southern economy.
Government deputy spokeswoman Ratchada Thanadirek, as a special delegate of the SBPAC, said that on Thursday, Deputy Defence Minister Chaicharn Changmongkol presided over a meeting to highlight the government's focus on ensuring progress is made on security, foreign affairs, fisheries and other issues in the southernmost provinces.
At the hearing, locals proposed the red-whiskered bulbul be delisted from the protected species list issued by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation because the practice of breeding the bird is already widespread in the South.
Removing it from the list also squares with the government's policy of encouraging locals to breed native animals for economic benefits and to strengthen cultural identity.
The SBPAC will propose that the DNP further study the population of this crested bulbul to help build a case for its delisting.
There was concern earlier that the bird, a protected species since 1960, could become extinct. However, its population has since flourished due to its popularity among bird breeders despite the law.
There are now believed to be several hundred thousand red-whiskered bulbuls in Thailand, mostly in the southern region.
Those supporting its delisting point to the case of the zebra dove, which was similarly delisted after the species was found to be living in relative abundance in wild forests. It is now considered a species native to southern Thailand.