The Council of Agriculture yesterday urged breeders and owners of parrots to follow a new bird certification policy known as “one bird, one ring, one certificate,” to help curb bird smuggling.
Owners of about 1,700 parrots have so far obtained certification, which is provided by 34 registered stores nationwide, said Lin Kuo-chang (林國彰), chief of the Forestry Bureau’s Wildlife Conservation Section.
A trial of the new registration and certification process was enacted on April 1 in southern parts of the country by the bureau in collaboration with the Kaohsiung Ornamental Bird Association.
The certification of parrots is not very common nationwide as the policy is still in its initial stages and it is not yet mandatory for parrot breeders and sellers to comply, Lin said.
“We’d like more bird lovers to take the initiative and adopt this policy” since there are many benefits to it, Lin said.
For example, the use of rings and certificates allows disputes over whether captive and pet parrots are from a protected species to be easily settled, he said.
International protections extend to all but four of the 300 parrot species in the world, but some protected species can be bred and therefore sold legally, he said, noting that parrot-breeding techniques in Taiwan are actually quite advanced.
Certification “serves as an additional guarantee” for both the authorities and the public, he said.
Registration and certification also allows for “better and more effective control” in the event of an outbreak of bird flu or parrot fever, he said.
In addition, if a bird goes missing, such information can be used to help find it, he added.
Lin said the widespread use of certification is necessary if Taiwan wants to breed and export birds to the EU, where the regulations are stricter. It is estimated that Taiwan’s parrot trade is worth about NT$7 billion (US$243.1 million) a year, with Japan and the US the main export markets.