CAMBRIDGE, England, July 17 (UPI) -- The Solomon Islands has become a center for illegally moving wild birds into the global captive-bred bird trade, a wildlife trade watchdog group says.
Traffic, based in Britain, says thousands of exotic birds have been exported from the Solomons during the last 10 years, even though there are no major captive breeding facilities in the islands, the BBC reported Tuesday.
"Declaring exported birds as being captive-bred has all the hallmarks of a scam to get around international trade regulations," Chris Shepherd, Traffic's deputy director for Southeast Asia, said.
The Solomon Islands recently joined the global wildlife trade convention CITES, which sets the conditions under which captive-bred and wild animals can be traded.
Traffic officials say they estimate about 54,000 birds were exported from the Solomons between 2000 and 2010, with more than 40,000 of them declared as captive-bred.
More than 13,000 were of non-native species, mainly originating in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, but Traffic investigators said they could find no records of these species being imported into the Solomons, either for re-export or to begin a captive breeding program.
Most of the birds went to Malaysia and Singapore.
Malaysia recently suspended imports from the Solomon Islands after questions were raised, and Traffic is urging the Singapore government to do the same, the BBC said.
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