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Illegal trapping and local trade of farmland birds in Madhesh Province, Nepal

First Author: Katuwal, HB
Abstract: Worldwide defaunation is being accelerated by wildlife hunting, trapping, and trade. However, there is little knowledge of bird hunting or trapping in South Asia, including Nepal. Despite being illegal, trapping and eating wild birds (locally called Bagedi, i.e., bunting species -small passerine birds that are declining globally) is popular in lowland Nepal. However, it has received little research interest. We identified the potential bird species that could be trapped under the name Bagedi. We also interviewed 24 trappers, 26 middlemen, 65 hoteliers, and 105 customers to understand the trapping, trade, and eating practices of Bagedi and the impacts on the farmland bird population in Madhesh Province, Nepal. By following trappers and middlemen and based on our Farmland Bird Survey Program in lowland Nepal, we identified 25 farmland bird species that are most likely to be trapped, killed, and sold in the name of Bagedi. We confirmed six of them including true buntings, such as Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala), Crested Bunting (Emberiza lathami) and other similar-sized species like Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata) and Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus), among others. Trade in Bagedi has increased over the past ten years due to high prices and the customers' belief that consuming Bagedi produces heat in the body in winter and has aphrodisiac properties. Winter (December-February) is the peak Bagedi eating season and based on interviews with hoteliers (n = 55) during the survey period, we estimated that 115,200 to 129,600 birds were killed. During this period, the surveyed hoteliers would make an estimated business of around Nepalese Rupees 7488,000 to 8424,000 (USD 65,113-73,252). More than 70% of the people interviewed claimed that they did not know that trapping, trading, or eating wild birds is illegal. Around 50% of the trappers, 92% of the mid-dlemen, 56% of the hoteliers, and 54% of the customers showed an unwillingness to stop this activity. Our study shows that bird trapping in our study area is highly market-driven and is a serious, understudied, and overlooked conservation threats to farmland birds in Nepal.
Contact the author: Quan, RC
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Subject: Biodiversity Conservation; Ecology
Impact Factor: 4
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PubYear: 2023
Volume: 42
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