Mapping the online songbird trade in Indonesia

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Fink , C , Toivonen , T , Correia , R A & Di Minin , E 2021 , ' Mapping the online songbird trade in Indonesia ' , Applied Geography , vol. 134 , 102505 . ,

Title: Mapping the online songbird trade in Indonesia
Author: Fink, Christoph; Toivonen, Tuuli; Correia, Ricardo A.; Di Minin, Enrico
Contributor organization: Department of Geosciences and Geography
Helsinki Lab of Interdisciplinary Conservation Science
Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
Digital Geography Lab
Date: 2021-09
Language: eng
Number of pages: 10
Belongs to series: Applied Geography
ISSN: 0143-6228
Abstract: Wildlife trade, when unsustainable, can be an important threat to biodiversity conservation. In this contribution, we explored the use of digital data to investigate the online market for songbirds in Indonesia, where keeping pet songbirds is a deeply rooted cultural practice. We examined the spatial characteristics of three dimensions of the songbird trade using data from online sources: birdwatchers’ sightings as a proxy for the supply of the songbird market, small advertisements from an online marketplace platform, representing the trade itself and its transactions, and videos by pet songbird owners to represent the demand side of the songbird market. We found that, geographically, these three stages of the songbird supply chain did not overlap, which potentially hints at the roles extended transport networks and commercial captive breeding play for the songbird trade. The trade was not confined to major cities but spread out through the country, indicating both a possible democratisation of the trade (i.e. a larger group of sellers, and consumers selling to consumers) and an opportunity to observe previously covert parts of the trade. We further found that the asking prices on online marketplaces were significantly higher than the prices stated in an independently carried out consumer survey, and discuss possible reasons. Data from digital sources can give rich insights into the spatial, temporal and taxonomic structure of wildlife trade, can help understand the motivations of buyers and sellers, and can help direct wildlife trade towards a more sustainable fashion. Our methodology toolbox that allows automatic and continuous monitoring of online marketplaces and includes data preparation and cleaning, and follows the highest standards of data privacy principles, is openly available.
Subject: 1172 Environmental sciences
1171 Geosciences
512 Business and Management
Wildlife trade
Online marketplaces
Digital conservation
Conservation culturomics
Conservation geography
Pet trade
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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