Bird breeders seek bulbul delisting to boost economy

Bird breeders seek bulbul delisting to boost economy

Thailand's association of red-whiskered bulbul breeders is urging the government to delist the bird from its table of protected species, claiming the breeding market once created a billion baht in revenue for the economy.

The association's president, Suratep Boonyavatvanit, said there were over a million breeders and 2 million red-whiskered bulbuls in the market five years ago. But since the bird was listed as a protected species, requiring special authorisation to breed them for commercial purposes, those numbers dwindled, he said.

Mr Suratep said 50% of those breeders had since quit the market, resulting in smaller contributions to employment and the economy totalling just 200-300 million baht per year.

"Some red-whiskered bulbuls are worth six figures, and some seven figures. During the peak period of the bird-breeding business, they brought in 1 billion baht a year for the economy. Millions of people are employed to support the supply chain which includes bird food, bird trade and bird showcases," Mr Suratep added. He said the government should look into the economic value of red-whiskered bulbuls and consider delisting the bird from the protected species list, which would encourage the public to breed the species and employ more people to shore up the industry.

He added the association has been campaigning for the removal of red-whiskered bulbuls for over 10 years and is willing to make compromises given the concerns of conservation groups.

The United Thai Nation Party also supports the association's move. It will submit a petition to the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry seeking the bird's delisting.

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