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Anthony Lynam, Michael Sullivan  

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Wildlife trade discussion in a Bangkok marketplace. Includes many sounds from the marketplace.  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
10 Sep 2003

    Geography
  • Thailand
    Locality
  • Bangkok
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 13.74067   100.52538
    Channels
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Recorders
    Microphones
  • Sennheiser MKH 40
  • Sennheiser MKH 30
    Accessories
    Equipment Note
  • Decoded MS stereo

Show: Thailand Wildlife Trade
Log of DAT #10, Bangkok Weekend Market ¿ Tony Lynam
With MS pair, MKH4030 ¿
Engineer: Charles Thompson
Date: September 25, 2003
ng=not good
ok=okay
g=good
vg=very good

Sky Train to Market Ambi

1:15 traffic ambi

1:41 Passing cars, various motors, traffic, MS chatting with another English-speaking voice ambi g

5:12 Counting and dropping change in a ticket/token machine for 4 ppl, until 6:37
traffic ambi g

6:46-51 high heels running FX ok

7:06 car horn FX

7:09 thudding footsteps climbing steps until 7:34 ok traffic ambi continues.

8:04 Thai children talking added to ambi ok

8:21 PA system announcing next station in Thai and English ok

8:44 Children talking, laughing FX vg

Voices on bus, coughing, laughter, announcement, running motor ambi. g

9:49 vehicle slowing to a stop, people shifting, leaving.

10:02 mic now off the bus also, street sounds, voices, motors, ambi louder.

10:24 children FX ok

10:32 reversing sound, beeping of car FX vg

10:37 now on new vehicle, either train/metro system or quieter truck making regular rhythmic pattern over segments of a road/bridge, Thai voices ambi, shuffling around, children's squeaky toy ambi

11:42 Now out of vehicle again, Thai voice singing over loud speakers, Thai conversations, laughing, passing motors, vehicle reversing, squeaky brakes, TL discussing wrong stop made, leading back in other direction g

14:15 off the street again, entering vehicle with other ppl, footsteps, shuffling, voices ambi ok

14:49 motor starts, Thai voices, shuffling, footsteps, static of walkie talkie ambi ok

16:34 cell phone FX, (TL answers) ok

17:20 STOP DOWN

17:28 PA, children and Thai voices, vehicles, cell phone ambi ok

17:58 out in street, voices ambi continues, passing vehicles, horns ambi now clearer vg

18:50 pop music FX ok

21:53 jack hammer ambi ok
22:14-28 jack hammer vg

22:43 beating drum FX ok

23:36 whistle FX g

23:58 pop music ambi, motor ambi fades significantly, some horns, TL and MS chatting, market voices ambi ok

24:27 ok:
MS: So you're essentially surreptitiously acquiring that park?

TL: It's going to be one of our sites, yeah. And the park has asked us to go there b/c they need help with developing the capacity to protect wildlife, and one of the things that we have to offer is arrange a training program which we've actually started already. And we've initiated contact with the local police who are pretty cooperative at getting things done, and we're trying to establish a line of engagement btwn the natural parks and the police ppl out there so they work tog better. A lot of probs with enforcement are lack of comm., lack of info sharing, as well as lack of capacity to do the job, training and then getting that comm. going at the same time is really important.

MS: So this is a friendly takeover?

TL: yeah.

25:55 vg:
TL: We're in the Bangkok weekend market in central Bangkok, also known as Chadachack [sp] weekend market.

MS: Tony is there anything you can't buy here; I've read that there's tens of 1000s of shops here, that 100s of 1000s of ppl come here each weekend day to buy things; is there anything here that you can't buy?

TL: This market is a weekend clearing house for all kinds of prods ranging from handicrafts to clothes to food to animals, furniture it's all here

MS: and unfortunately a lot of those animals are animals we've been talking about

TL: a lot of the animals are animals that we've been talking about in terms of conserving animals there are many species of animals that are on show here on sale here that are protected species not just protected in Thai but also protected in other countries. Some of these are actually illegally being sold here. Today we'll have an opp to go around and look at what's being sold.

27:04 market ambi: voices, sometimes radio/TV, TL/MS exchanges. ok

29:48 animal and doggie sounds added to ambi g

30:42 MS: We're in a great place right now bc we've got dogs over here to our R, DVDs over to our L, handicrafts to R, medicine over to L, 4 shops right in middle of market. ...Tony could you buy cars here?

TL: probably on consignment, if you don't see what you want, you can order it in most cases. ...When this market was less monitored and less controlled ...species of animals ...emus, tigers, lions all on sale here. You could basically come in here and point to what you want and buy it. Now that's pretty much ended, but you can still buy animals from catalogs. Ppl like wildlife traders come here and they offer things for sale that are not actually kept here but they're available and they can be bought by doing business with these guys and they hold the wildlife in different places in Bangkok, and they'll deliver them to your door.

(Rooster/chicken ambi throughout above)

MS: So 10 yrs ago it was cash and carry, now it's a little more difficult, it's cash and wait a couple hrs and it'll be delivered to you.

TL: something like that: a couple hrs or a couple days, depending on what you want. Over here on the R, these cocks would have been sold, traded, these are fighting cocks.

32:47 rooster calls, men cheering over fighting cocks ambi g

34:10 fight intensifies/climaxes vg

35:46 TL: We get to the fish section. Many of the fish that you see in the tanks here are caught in the seas ...in the ...sea, Gulf of Thai. Lots of exotic fish and some of them are actually endangered species, although I'm not an expert on fish.

Radio, pop beat ambi loud over this part of conversation.

TL: So we have 10 maybe 15 plastic tubs full of water, fish various different colors, shapes and sizes, all being sold here. A lot of them are wild caught animals, and they're brought here and they're bred. Some of them are actually just brought straight from the seas here every week.

MS: But what this market is most known for at this point is birds.

TL: Birds, yes.

MS: And those you know better than fish.

36:45 Music ambi fades, bird ambi starts, more calm rustling of market, Thai voices talking. g

37:09
TL: We have munias [sp], birds in the cages, or we have some bul-buls [sp], and we have some squirrels here, tree shrews, these aren't endangered, they're not protected, so they're widely sold here, the squirrels here. That's a verible [sp] squirrel, a tree shrew. You can see the conditions that they're held in aren't that good. It's very very hot, the animals are held down to the tops of the cages by bits of string.

MS: They may not be endangered, but they look very unhappy.

TL: Lots of birds in the cages here. These are straw-headed bul-buls [sp], that's a red whiskered bul-bul there, these are singing birds, and they're caught from the wild they're also bred in captivity, but mostly caught from the wild for their calls.

MS: And is it legal to be selling them here?

TL: Legal and illegal depending on the species. Maybe 4 or 5 species of squirrel being sold. I'm not an expert on munias [sp] ...

38:25 Market ambi

38:37 These are barbets [sp], beautiful, commonly sold as pets. ... They may well come from the forests near Bangkok, or they could be bred in captivity but more likely they're from the forest.

MS:They come from the forest legally?

TL: No.

MS: They're very pretty; they have red plumes, little yellow coloring around their eyes, and then they're mostly green, green and black tails, very small, no bigger than your fist. How much does something like this go for?

TL: Let me ask.

39:24 TL asks in Thai

TL: 300 baht, which is about 7 dollars, 7 dollars each. That's 1200 Baht, so that's maybe 30 dollars.

40:00 MS: Bright green little sparrow looking creature with some black feathers. ...Of the 4 or 5 that we have right at this one shop, how many are illegal/legal to sell here?

TL: Well it's difficult to say bc it's possible to get licenses to breed some of these native species in captivity, but it's hard to tell the difference btwn what's bred in captivity and what's from the wild.

MS: A nice little loophole that.

TL: Right.

40:37 MS: Here's a parakeet.

TL: There's an emerald dove there, and if those were caught from the wild that would be illegal to sell them here. But most likely the trader would say that they're bred in captivity so there's a legal loophole there.

40:53 MS: And how long has this legal loophole been there, is this recent?

TL: The recent loophole, the recent adjustments to the wildlife laws made it possible for people to get licenses to captively breed 59 species of birds, mammals, reptiles including some of the fancy pheasants, some of the more favored species of pheasants and that's a bit of a problem bc it means that the trade can't be controlled.

MS: You're talking about essentially franchising the sale of threatened or endangered species?

TL: In some cases, yes.

MS: And by ext you're also talking about potentially being able to launder birds caught in the wild through these franchises.

TL: That's right, it's a big prob.

41:50 MS: It's like getting false papers for them

TL: That's right.

Market ambi, woman singing in Thai, bird calls, guitar music playing and singing, water sounds (or frying?). g

TL: Oh, this is truly the fish section of the market. But you can also buy all kinds of amazing things to eat here like these crickets, they're about 2.5 inches long, they've been fried in oil and they're crunchy and they taste a little bit like potato chips.

MS: Probably more nutritious though, more nutritious and slightly less fattening.

TL: There's some fried baby birds and some caterpillars. ...selling rabbits, and more of these squirrels ...and tree shrews.

43:35
MS: So ppl actually keep squirrels as pets here, otherwise they wouldn't be here.

TL: They're very popular, especially the young ones, ppl will come here and buy a baby tree shrew or baby squirrel like this and take it home.

MS: Can you actually train a squirrel?

TL: I don't know; never tried. This guy's asking the price. He's selling squirrels ranging in price from $4 to $7.

MS: What's the diff btwn a 4 and 7 $ squirrel?

TL: It depends upon the species. And the age and the color. These ones up at the top here are prob more expensive; actually they have prices marked at the back of the cages. That's 850 Baht which is about 21 dollars ...this one's little cheaper ...18 $, 17$

44:30 MS: Legal?

TL: Well if they're bred in captivity, and if they have a license, then it's legal.

MS: How likely do you think that is?

TL: Well we'd have to ask and find out.

44:48 TL asks in Thai.
TL: So I asked if they were wild animals, and he said no.
More in Thai
TL: Yep, that's what they always say, captively bred.

MS: Captively bred. Just drive right thru that loophole and there you are.

45:09-22 Bird ambi vg!

Market ambi continues, voices, plastic rustling, radio pop music, dishes, chopping. g

46:35 TL: ...There's a couple of tortoises down there. These are pygmy possums from Australia. Actually they're sugar gliders, that's a sugar glider, it's an Australian species ...these are turtles. Look in the tub there. ...3 or 4 species of turtles in there.

MS: What do ppl do with these turtles?

TL: They're sold as pets, ppl will keep them in ponds. In their houses and sometimes they'll have buckets or terrariums that they'll keep them in.

MS: but these are clearly turtles as pets rather than turtles as food?

TL: I think so, in most cases ppl would be buying these bc they're exotic and beautiful.

MS: ...Possum?

TL: That looks like a possum; isn't that an opossum? What's that doing in a market in Bangkok?

MS: That looks quite familiar to me. [laughs] But quite out of place here. So where do you think this comes from?
TL: Well by airplane or by containership in ppl's luggages, in ppl's handbags. ...Some kind of bamboo rat, I'm not sure actually ...might be something from S or C America. Looks like a rodent. Definitely not an Asian species, whatever it is.

MS: You said there's 3 or 4 species of turtles?

TL: Yes, unfortunately I'm not an expert on tortoises ¿ turtles, but there's 1 2 3 4 species ...nothing that I recog as endangered but all of these SE Asian tortoises are endangered now. Everything's gone down to really no numbers so none of it should be being sold.

MS: The fact that you don't recog it doesn't make it legal; it just means that you don't recog it.

TL: Right. ...Ooh, that's a Burmese python.

49:41 MS: ...looks almost like an albino python.

TL: That's a Burmese python ¿ that's a reticulated [sp] python. That's a Burmese star tortoise that one there ¿ that's an endangered species.

MS: Any of these have any business being sold here?

49:56 TL: No, not at all, I mean, that's completely illegal.

MS: They don't seem to be too concerned about the niceties of the law?

TL: He's asking us who we are, but as long as we don't speak in Thai we'll be okay. Look at these frogs here ...don't know what they are. ...More snakes.

MS: ...This is a little green pit viper?

TL: I'm not sure what that is. I think that's a racer. [asking vendor] What's this one?

50:49 Vendor: This one? It's wine snake or whip snake. ...a real [sp] python or bol [sp] python. ...yeah, it's nice.

TL: There's a tarantula in there.

Vendor: It's a Brazilian pinton [sp]. Can I ask you what you're doing?

MS: Just here for a radio program.

Vendor: oh, ok ok.

MS: No cameras, if that's what you're worried about.

V: No, no, it just looks kind of strange.

MS: How's business?

V: You better ask him, he's owner, I just hang around.

MS: [repeat]

[owner doesn't seem to understand]

V: This is from Malaysia, actually I think that this is from Indonesia ¿ white [sp] python. ...

52:09 V: But these are captive bred, here in Thailand.

MS: And what about the Burmese python?

V: Yep, this is captive bred too.
¿
MS: Looks like it's lunch time for the snakes now, getting some mice out of the horsdeurve tray here.

TL [very muffled and quiet] ...salt water crocs and baby crocs ng
¿
market ambi g

TL [hard to hear again]: ...security guy, all of those guys.

54:10 MS: So basically when we walked in here and the sec guy saw Chuck here with his mic, he talked into his walkie talkie and the clear implication was that he was warning.

[chuck temp stop down in market] 54:30

54:42 pick up; market ambi.g

54:43 MS: Tony, when we came in here, there was a sec guard w/ a walk-talk who saw our recording equip and started talking into his walk-talk kind of busily, what was that? Was he warning ppl to put things away?

TL: Well maybe. He might have been radioing ahead to somebody here to tell them that somebody was coming in here w/ some recording equip, possibly the traders, and ppl like the guy to our R may have been part of the network and last time I came here this guy had a couple of salt water crocs for sale and they're not in the tub where they normally are, so maybe he found out we were coming and pulled them off show.

MS: Is that the way things usually work here?

TL: yes ...55:23 and if we walk through into the next section, there's usually lots and lots of exotic birds for sale. In fact if we go thru there ...we might run into some malakan [sp] cockatoos or even some cockatoos from Australia.

MS: and if we don't it's prob more likely that they've been tipped off that we're coming and they've put them away rather than them having stopped selling them here?

TL: Probably.

MS: So what you're telling me is the security here is all on the take?

TL: well there's a network of info that's shared btwn all kinds of ppl, and it's highly likely that some of the ppl involved in sec are part of the network.

MS: Doesn't it make it incredible difficult then to try to enforce the law?

56:09 TL: Esply when the number of enforcement staff is so limited. There's just a few ppl who are respon for this market who are forestry police, wildlife protection staff and everybody knows who they are, so as soon as they walk in, as soon as they walk up the path, get off the train, get out of their cars, walk into the market, the alarm bells go off.

MS: So we've seen many things today that shouldn't be sold here at all and yet you think there's prob a hellavu a lot more that we haven't seen that they've put away.

TL: I think that too

MS: After they saw us

TL: yes ...and I also think that there are animals here that you can't see on show but you can prob make some inquiries and get them.

56:57 MS: and this is the supermarket of threatened and endangered species here. You can come here, you can buy whatever you want? You just come with your shopping list and if you can't see it here, you can definitely order it. and you can have it if not in a matter of hours, then in a matter of days. It's just a Q of how much you much you want to pay and how long you want to wait.

TL: Yeah, it's quite possible that you might like to find/get are available at a price and like you said it's a matter of spending some time and money and everything's on sale.

57:32 MS: And that's exactly the situation that we encountered when we were out at the park. The park has so many different species in it and we were told by the enforcement ppl there in the park that the poachers don't go there accidentally or incidentally; they go there with a list of things that they've been commissioned to buy ...to poach, to hunt, and then they're going to bring them back to the traders.

TL: That's correct. A lot of the traders are hiring ppl to bring in certain kinds of animals certain species and those animals are basically animals that are ordered by customers.

MS: Extremely sophisticated distribution network then.

TL: That's right. Massive trade that's making many many ppl very wealthy all throughout the world, so it has to be organized.

MS: I've seen figures that suggest this is a $ 10 billion a year industry; I've heard other ppl say that it's as much as a $50 billion industry. Do we have any idea how much is really involved here?

58:40 TL: well whatever it is it's a huge amount of trade in a large number of countries across the world and we're in one of those countries at just one of the markets, and look what we have here, 100s 1000s of animals of 1000s of species for sale openly.

MS: Let's go on to the bird section ¿ see what we can find.

59:02 Market ambi g

59:31 Bird ambi vg

TL: baby salt water croc and there's a couple Burmese star tortoises down there at the bottom. That's a siety's listed species, appendix 1, it's endangered. Bet you they don't have a license to sell those. This guy's also selling Burmese pythons.

MS: But if we ask them if they have a license, they'll say yes they have a license to breed them in captivity, right?

TL: That's right, there's actually Indian star tortoises in there too...and Burmese star tortoises and both are endangered species, highly endangered.

MS: As is this Burmese ¿

1:00:40 TL: python, well, we just know how many of those there are in the wild. I don't think formal surveys have been done for those animals, but that's not really the point here. The point is that we've got these animals that we know are getting harder to find being sold in higher numbers every year and there are ppl buying them and there is clearly a market for these animals and as long as there's a market there is a demand, there will be ppl out in the forests trying to catch them and bring them in.

MS: so to you it doesn't matter if this Burmese python is on the threatened or endangered list or not, you're saying, in a couple of yrs, on the list or not, it will be there, if ppl keep hunting it.

1:01:25 TL:So little work has been done in doing surveys in these remote far off places like Myanmar and Cambodia. We just don't know what the true status of these species is. And for some species, we think that there's a lot around, maybe we see them more frequently than others, but that doesn't mean that in a couple of yrs that this trade is going to drive their populations in the wild down to low levels and they'll be in the same situation as the others. The trade is really driving the loss of these animals from the forest, so we need to do something about it. From the market end we need to be closing down this trade, and from the supplier we need to be doing better protec in the forest, keep those animals from being poached and being trapped and snared. ok (1:02:06 pop music radio ambi ¿ but music is ironically bittersweet/emotional/melancholy -- over his pessimistic words)

MS: And you left out one which is the demand end; you've gotta stop ppl from wanting to buy these things.

TL: that's a harder thing to do but it has to be done as well and we need to try to change awareness and attitude towards animals and the only way we can do that is by edu, by trying to create awareness of the importance of these animals, why it's important that they be allowed to survive in the wild. And that's an important part of what we're doing as well.

1:02:46 MS: Ok, so right here we have a terrarium, it's divided into 4 separate parts here and in the bottom we have what¿nothing...here we have star tortoises which are endangered, flat out shouldn't be sold, and this one here is a salt water croc also shouldn't be sold

TL: maybe just a couple of months old

MS: and then we have a Burmese python here which while not necessarily threatened, who knows?

TL: we don't know, that's right.

1:03:21 MS: And if you ask these ppl if what they're selling ...

1:03:37Radio ambi raises in volume.
1:04:20 Temporary stopdown

New part of market
1:04:22
Birds, voices ambi

TL:There's a mulukan [sp] parrot probably from Indonesia. ...looks like a ¿

1:04:44 MS: Tony, we're at the bird section now, what do we have here?

TL: This is one of the shops that sells birds, it's only a small shop, but they have got a nice diversity of animals on display. They have a malakan [sp] cockatoo, probably from one of the Indon islands, we've got a baby rainbow laurakeet [sp] and that's a species that's native to Australia, we've got another parakeet ...it looks like a baby of maybe ¿hmm...that's a New Guinean species, clearly it's been bred here. A lot of this stuff is captively bred and so it's possible to get licenses to breed it and sell it.

MS: or launder it. if it's caught in the wild.

1:05:34 Market ambi.

1:07:08 TL: Some parakeets. Oh, these are beautiful. That's a karela [sp] from Austr. I'm not sure what these species birds are here, alexandrine parakeets ...2 or 3species of birds, and you can see up at the back there are 3 or 4 posters showing parrots of the world, cockatoos of the world. menus. Oh, look, there's green pea fowl in there, a peacock! Inside a cage over there. All for sale. It's a beautiful bird, isn't it. look back there they have 1 2 3 4 5 6 green pea fowl which is an endangered species in Thai as well as in other countries in SE Asia, all for sale. If they're captively bred, they can get registered and they can legally sell them.

1:08:20 CJC: and wasn't that b4 the amnesty?

TL: that's right; if they don't have a license now, then legally they can be prosecuted, but then who's to say, those animals were part of the contingent that were registered? Half a million animals were registered, but they don't have any way of tracking which ones were which. They could be sub.ed they could be traded they could be sold, and they can be replaced with others from the wild.

1:08:50 CJC: Can you tell us a little bit about the amnesty? The 3 month amnesty?

1:08:56 TL: 59,000 ppl registered half a million animals of 59 different species b4 Sept 9 and those were animals that can now be legally traded and bred and they have licenses to have those animals ...and now the amnesty has been lifted, it's a free for all bc as soon as these animals are bred or reared in captivity they'll be sold and many of them will be replaced with other animals from the wild.

CJC: and if enforcers came thru here tmrw or any other day could they do something right here?

TL: it's hard for enforcement to take place when there's so many loopholes. Big loophole is now this amnesty which has allowed ppl to register animals and who's to say these are the animals that were registered. Maybe, maybe not. Who's to say their captively bred, or caught from the wild, we just don't know, there's no way of telling. The best thing that can be done is to create a new law that overrides all the other laws to shut the whole thing down to make all sales of wildlife of any species completely illegal, but that's very very difficult to do. you don't have any good models. Look at the US, one of the biggest wildlife markets in the world. how much money is made on trading wildlife in the US? How many exotic species are brought into the US and traded as captively bred animals when they're really from the wild? It's a big prob.

1:10:36 Sound dies out

1:11:18 TL: ...and the imports and the transiting of wildlife from here. That's another prob: animals that are brought in from other countries and traded and sent off to other places.

MS: I want to follow up on that point that you just made. If in the US the laws are not that great in terms of enforcement, if there's no encouragement for places like this to actually stop their trade, are you going to lose this war eventually?

TL: I think as long as there are good intl laws and domestic laws that support those intl laws that allow the policing of those intl laws, we have a fighting chance, but one of the probs is that in many cases we have laws that are insufficient to ...

MS: If they don't care there, then why should they care here? Are you losing this war?

1:12:24 TL: I think that there are many battles, but I don't think that there's an end to the war. As long as there are animals in the forest, as long as there's wildlife, the battle will continue, and the way that we can win small battles is by encouraging the countries in SE Asia and Thai to improve their domestic laws so they can actually regulate and control the trade. The intl laws that are in place are only as good as the enforcement of the domestic laws. If countries are letting ppl trade their wildlife, buying and selling, then it makes it very difficult to control the intl trade.

MS: And how pervasive is the corruption in SE Asia in general and in Thai in particular?
When it comes to enforcement?

1:13:08 TL: well globally this trade is worth 8 billion dollars it's a huge trade and there are many ppl making a lot of money off of the trade and the attractions are the money and so if you're an official being paid 60, 100 dollars a month to do enforcement, if somebody comes along and offers you a couple of thousand dollars, to get permits to sell a bird or a bear or a tortoise then that's a great incentive, it's a great detraction from doing your job.

1:13:44 MS: and what do you think of this whole amnesty prog that just ended here in Thai?

TL: the prob is have an amnesty, but how good is the regulation and control of the captive breeding? Half a million animals have been registered now, they can be bred, they can be traded, some of those species, probably up to 20 species are actually SIETY's [sp] listed species, there are 7 or 8 that are actually globally threatened or endangered with extinction. How are we going to control how those species are captively bred and how their offspring are sold bartered traded? We have no way of controlling it bc we don't know where those animals are. Unless microchips are placed under their skins, unless those animals are actually monitored as individuals, we have no idea what's going to happen to them. In many cases those animals will leave this country, they'll be traded, they'll be exported to other places, they'll be sold and replaced by others that are brought in from the wild, now there is a legal basis to be doing trafficking of wildlife in this country at least for those 59 species.

1:14:58 MS:So who's idea was this? And what was the real intent here?

TL: I think the intent was a genuine one which was to try to install some kind of controls or regulation on this trade which is huge and it would have been great had they also put in some legislation allowing better enforcement of the laws at the same time.

MS: Would it have been better to not have the amnesty at all?

TL: difficult to say, but I think that the amnesty has now become a loophole for more trade at least for those species involved and some of those species are globally threatened with extinction, it's not a model that we should be promoting in other countries of SE Asia or in other parts of the world to be allowing the commercial trade of SIETY's [sp] appendix 1 species. For example the Siamese croc is an animal that we just saw in there a baby Siamese croc a hatchling being sold for 3 and a half thousand baht which is about 80 dollars. It's a hatchling, it's a couple of months old. Where did it come from? Did it come from the wild? We have no idea of knowing.. there's no way that an enforcement agent can actually tell the difference btwn a wild caught and a captively bred Siamese croc and we know that there are prob less than 50 Siamese crocs in the wild in 4 or 5 countries around SE Asia. Ppl are taking those animals from their nests, from the wild, to sell in markets such as the Bangkok weekend market. What hope do we have of saving the species from extinction.

1:16:38 MS: if there are that few, then what we just saw in there will be gone within a year.

TL:potentially so especially if there is an amnesty or if there is a legal way in which the animal can be traded and now there is. A couple of yrs ago WCS went to a park called gangkachan [sp] which is S of Bangkok you've been there and we did some surveys and found Siamese crocs, and we also found the only known reproducing pop of Siamese crocs known in SE Asia in that park. That's the only place that we've found that there are animals breeding. That's one of the targets for the trade. Those traders are actually getting ppl to go out in the forests like gangkachan [sp] and take the eggs and the hatchlings of Siamese crocs and probably some of those animals are here in the market today being sold. They're prob under license with reg papers that have been stamped and signed and sealed by the govt.

1:17:46
CJC: just to explain the role of siety's[sp] in all of this, what it is, and what happened 10 yrs ago, and what you anticipate will happen next year or in the coming yr prior to the mtg that will be held right here in Bangkok?

1:17:59 TL: Sietys [sp] is a set of regulations that concerns the trade and the siety's laws are intl laws that apply to all of the countries that are signatures to the treaty, but the laws are only as good as the domestic lege that maintains the enforcement of wildlife, so if there are legal loopholes allowing domestic trade allowing ppl to buy and sell animals that are sietys listed species w/in the country, it makes it hard to control the trade or it makes it hard to stop those animals from being traded across country borders. So countries in SE Asia need to be devel.ing good lege so that those sietys laws can actually be enforced, so that customs officials can actually have the ability to say, that's a sietys listed species, that's also protected by the law of this country, you can't ship that out of the country. Currently it works for some species, but for most of the species, it's not working effectively. Esp.ly in many of the countries in SE Asia which are involved in this global wildlife trade.

1:19:14 CJC:So in anticipation of the meeting being held, the sietys meeting being held in Thai next year what can you anticipate will be happening next year?

1:19:27 TL: well all the eyes of the intl wildlife comm. are going to be firmly focused on Thai and what it's doing to protect its own wildlife but also to reg the trade of exotic wildlife, and so it remains to be seen what's going to happen the next 14, 15 months b4 the mtg to change the nature of what we're seeing here today.

1:19:53 market ambi, motor bike, and bicycle bell ambi g

1:20:40 TL: there's a pair of Asian fairy bluebird in there and those are a species of concern in Thai, they're native to evergreen forest and the male is the one on the left with the beautiful blue cap and blue back and that's the F on the R. and their beautiful pets and they're nice songbirds too and that's why they're here being sold here at the market. But who's to tell if they're from the forest or not, you just don't know. On the R here we have a couple of bulbuls [sp] and bulbuls are traded widely throughout SE Asia, but partic in Thai and they're sold as songbirds, ppl hold them up in these cages from the roof the ceilings of their houses and take them and hang them up in front of their houses and they're ornaments, they're living ornaments essentially.

1:21:29 MS: Tony, this is incredibly politically incorrect, but I have to ask it this way, but I don't mean it flippantly, who gives a shit if we lose a couple birds?

1:21:41 TL:well, this is just part of the prob, if you allow a couple of birds to be traded then everybody wants to trade them, and if you allow more ppl to trade them, it becomes a big prob when these animals are down to numbers of a couple of hundred to a couple of 1000. and some of the species of bul bul like the straw headed bulbul are in that category. They've been wiped out from most of their native habitats in Thai, they're only found in a few places, and they're gonna disappear, pretty soon. If we don't do something to improve the enforcement, to stop them from being poached stop them from coming into the markets like this.

1:22:17 MS: and the absence of an animal from an enviro might actually lead to the degradation of that enviro as well, yes?

1:22:24 TL: as humans are doing wildlife trade, buying and selling animals, taking them out of the forests, encouraging ppl to poach, as these animals become more and more endangered and disappearing from the forests, changes must be happening but we just don't understand the nature of those changes. We don't understand what happens when you lose a species completely, and what we don't know is pretty frightening.

MS: What it does to the forest ¿ so that's why we should care?

1:22:56 TL: birds such as these ones that we have in cages here, if they were in the forest, they'd be dispersing seeds, they'd be helping trees move thru the forest, distributing the seeds and berries and they'd be helping forests regenerate potentially but they're in cages satisfying a human curiosity instead. What's more important? There you have it. a regenerating forest or the human condition?

1:23:28 Market ambi g

1:24:35 stop down

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