CHAPTER 13 - AVICULTURE (BIRDS)
13.1 Commercial trade in native birds has existed for many decades within Australia and a large
proportion of endemic species are now represented in captive populations. There are many thousands of
people who keep and breed birds for pleasure and for profit. There are hundreds of bird breeding clubs,
societies and associations, and peak bodies that represent them. The Avicultural Federation of Australia
(AFA), for example, has a membership of approximately 35,000 people.  In New South Wales, over
7000 individuals are licensed to hold protected and endangered birds as pets. It is estimated that a
similar number hold less that 20 birds under the '19-bird' rule which does not require them to hold a
licence. An unknown, but possibly high number also hold birds of the twelve common species which are
exempt from licensing controls. 
13.2 Aviculturists have a variety of goals, including the keeping and raising of native or exotic birds as a
hobby, the raising of a small number of birds of a particular variety for private sale, the raising of a large
number of birds for sale through the pet trade and the breeding of rare birds to build up stocks. Bird
aviary infrastructure costs can be high and some aviculturists spend a large amount of capital on facilities,
especially those involved in captive-breeding programs. Hand-raising birds takes considerable time and
effort. Red-tailed black cockatoos, for example, need to be hand fed with a special formula about every
four hours for some 8-12 months. 
13.3 Dedicated aviculturists carry out a significant amount of research and make an important
contribution to life history and scientific knowledge of individual bird species. Australian aviculturists are
considered to be some of the best in the world.  Such is the extent of aviculture in Australia that
populations of quite a number of endemic species are much greater in aviaries than they are in the wild.
 In New South Wales, for example, there are over 14,000 Major Mitchell cockatoos held in
13.4 Under the Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982 it is illegal to
export live native birds without a permit. Permits can only be issued to approved institutions or to
approved zoological organisations for legitimate zoological and scientific purposes.  Because permits
cannot be issued for any other purpose, by default, their commercial export is prohibited.
13.5 For exotic birds, there is a National Bird Registration Scheme which came into effect on 1
November 1996. It is administered by the Wildlife Protection Section of Environment Australia and all
holders of classified exotic birds are required to register under the scheme.  There is no equivalent
scheme for native birds. However, various state legislations require aviculturists to obtain permits for
each bird kept, unless it belongs to a species listed as exempt in that state.
13.6 Because many native birds have been bred in captivity for many generations, sometimes to the
extent that a population may be an entirely new colour or size variation, the AFA argues that long-term
aviary bred birds should no longer be considered to be 'wild' animals, or 'wildlife', but should be
classified as domesticated animals or livestock.  If they were classified in this way, then captive-bred
variants of native birds would have quite different and less restrictive regulations applied to them.
13.7 For many years birds have been individually identified through the attachment of a small metal leg
band. The type of band used is 'open' and it can be placed on an adult bird, whether captive-bred or
wild caught. This banding system, however, is not permanent and can be removed at any time, albeit
with some difficulty. For captive-bred birds, a closed steel band can be slid over the foot of juveniles
younger than about 21 days which, when the bird grows, cannot be removed except with bolt cutters.
The main advantage of closed bands is that they cannot be put on adult birds and thus cannot be put on
birds taken from the wild, unless they are younger than 21 days, thus ensuring that wild-caught adult bids
cannot be so marked.
13.8 Recent technology has provided two more forms of identification: microchip insertion and DNA
profiling. Microchip insertion has become a routine method of identification for many types of domestic
animals and some wild animals subject to scientific study (such as the koalas sterilised on Kangaroo
Island). The procedure involves the surgical placement of a small chip of glass, silicon and copper,
bearing an encoded number, under the animal's skin, usually at a site between the shoulder blades for
mammals or in the breast area for birds. The barcode can then be read at any time with a hand-held
scanner. Although this is a rapid and accurate method of identifying birds, some problems have been
experienced with it, including the loss of a chip or inability to read the chip.
13.9 DNA profiling is now routine and can be carried out to establish parentage and sex of birds. 
The technology allows the determination of an individual molecular profile, and from this to establish
parentage lines. Because DNA profiles are unique for each individual animal and because they cannot be
altered in any way, this form of identification is very valuable. However, DNA testing must be carried
out by a specifically equipped laboratory and is still quite expensive. Therefore the value of the bird, or
its impending sale price, must be relatively high to justify the cost.  (See also Box: 'Gene Science' -
Avian DNA Sexing.)
13.10 The Northern Territory Cockatoo Breeding and Research Centre, for example, have procedures
whereby all young birds are banded with a numbered, fully enclosed steel band. Each bird is also
microchipped by the NT Parks and Wildlife Commission, and a DNA profile taken, a sample of which
is kept by Curtin University. 
Illegal Trade (Smuggling)
13.11 The illegal export from Australia of live birds and eggs has existed for many years. While the
extent of smuggling is largely unknown, the fact that so many species of native Australian birds have
appeared overseas during the years of prohibition is sufficient evidence that some smuggling operations
have been very successful. The number of Australian birds kept in aviaries overseas is also clear
evidence that there is a continuing strong demand for Australian birds and, in particular, the less common
species.  Smuggling has a significant detrimental impact because it removes many more birds from
the wild than the market requires because of the high in-transit mortality rate. It also results in the
destruction of nesting sites and other damage to habitat. 
13.12 Although smuggling was frequently mentioned in evidence to the Committee as being a threat to
the conservation status of many species of birds in Australia, specific evidence about the level of
smuggling operations was difficult to obtain. When asked about their knowledge of smuggling activities,
most aviculturists stated they had no doubt that illegal removal of birds occurred but that the evidence
was mostly circumstantial, or obtained from news reports. Examples of this were as follows.
- Ms Diana Anderson (Kimani Aviaries, Perth) stated that she believed birds were being removed
illegally from the north coast of Western Australia by boat, but could not provide any further
specific evidence. 
- Mr Peter O'Malley (Agriculture Western Australia) stated that other than news reports of the
discovery of smuggling through major airports, the only evidence was rumours of birds being
taken out through remote airports in northern Australia. He also stated that he believed that
smuggling occurred primarily in New South Wales and Victoria. 
- Mr Gordon Wyre (CALM) stated that there was evidence that smuggling went on, either from
raided nests or through contacts in rural areas but it was very difficult to turn that information into
a case for prosecution. 
- Mr Richard Polgaze (Curator of Birds at Multiplex Construction's Egerton Stud, Perth) stated
that smugglers were 'active' in Western Australia as was evidenced by a number of prosecutions.
- Mr Geoffrey D'Cruz (Birds'n'All, Perth) stated that he was frequently approached by people
wanting to sell him birds which, in his opinion, 'had not been bred from entirely their own stock',
which suggested that they had been obtained illegally. 
- Mr Darren Cleland (FNQ Network) stated that while he had not met any people directly involved
in smuggling birds, there was considerable hearsay evidence discussed in pubs about illegal
13.13 The only direct evidence of smuggling described by an aviculturist came from Mr John Allen
(Avi-Ark Pty Ltd, Perth) who stated that he had unknowingly been involved in a smuggling operation
when he exchanged information with a friend who was later convicted and served an 8-month sentence.
13.14 Representatives of CALM explained to the Committee that the main problem lay with obtaining
sufficient information to proceed with, and achieve, a successful prosecution. While there was direct
evidence in the field that nests had been raided, information about who was involved was mostly
circumstantial. DNA testing of aviary birds, however, was now being used to assist in confirming wildlife
crime. In one instance, CALM suspected that several breeders of white-tailed black cockatoos had
wild-caught birds (or had birds raised from eggs removed from the wild) illegally in their aviaries. By
taking material from known nests in the wild and comparing it with material from the birds held in
aviaries, the Department was able to prove that birds which where supposed to be captive-bred had in
fact come from the wild and successful prosecutions followed. 
13.15 There was some disagreement in the evidence as to whether birds smuggled out of Australia were
wild caught or aviary-bred. A representative of PIJAC, Mr Cameron McTavish, told the Committee
that because most rare bird species were common in aviaries no one would bother trying to collect them
from the wild if they were for sale from a cage. Many smuggled birds are purchased legally because it is
easier to buy them than it is to find and trap them in the bush. 
13.16 However, while several aviculturists claimed that they would not smuggle birds themselves
because of the risks, nor would they sell their birds to known smugglers because of concerns for the
welfare of their birds,  Mr Allen suggested that aviculturists may unwittingly deal with smugglers,
having no knowledge at the time or afterwards.  Aviculturists also pointed to the finding of damaged
nests as evidence that eggs and juvenile birds had been taken from the wild. 
Commercial Use of Superabundant Species
13.17 Owing to increased food supplies in some agricultural areas of Australia, there are now some very
large flocks of some species of native birds, mainly sulphur crested cockatoos, corellas, and galahs. 
In South Australia, for example, galahs and little corellas are unprotected species and are considered to
be an agricultural pest. They may be shot by landowners or their employees without a permit. However,
in other states, pest eradication permits are required. The destruction of superabundant birds has led to
the suggestion that farmers be allowed to trap and export them instead. The commercial gain made by
farmers could then be used to offset the cost of damage to crops. 
13.18 Mr Clem Campbell, Member for Bundaberg, argued in his submission that current policies
inadvertently resulted in both a high value illegal market and considerable waste of potential income. He
suggested that if licensed farmers were allowed to sell a quota of birds under a regulated scheme, it may
even pay them to grow crops just to feed the birds. Further, it would earn foreign currency for Australia
and reduce the potency of the illegal market. 
13.19 However, the AFA is opposed to this idea for a number reasons. First, wild caught birds do not
make good pets. Captive-bred birds are usually hand reared and thus become 'imprinted' to people.
They bond with their owners and become people and house 'trained'. Wild birds, especially if old, do
not bond well with people and thus make less satisfying companions. In addition, they do not settle well
in cages and may injure themselves and cause disruption to other stock.
13.20 Second, wild caught birds may carry disease and often do not thrive in aviaries. Third, wild caught
birds are easily stressed and often die from stress-related causes when transported. Captive-bred birds
are much less susceptible to stress. Fourth, aviculturists in other countries do not want Australia's 'pest'
species exported to their countries where they may cause problems as 'feral' animals.  Fifth, taking
birds from the wild for the pet trade confuses the argument that aviary bred birds should be considered
to be 'livestock'. 
13.21 Finally, wild harvesting of 'superabundant' birds may have a long-term detrimental impact on the
regional population stability of that species. Because of their high degree of mobility, large flocks of birds
seen around crops may in fact be a concentration of all birds from a broad area, leaving the surrounding
bushland temporarily vacant. Removal of pest birds from one agricultural area may result in their
unintended removal from a whole region. 
13.22 The Humane Society International argued in evidence to the Committee that exporting problem
species (such as sulphur crested cockatoos) was not a satisfactory solution because it created two other
problems - that of ensuring the humane transport of live animals, and that of a pest species entering
another country where it may also achieve 'pest' status. 
13.23 Parrot expert, Mr Joseph Forshaw, emphasised in his evidence that, in addition to all the other
reasons, an export program would not account for enough birds to make any impact on the agricultural
problem. In his opinion, the overseas market for such species would quickly become saturated. He was
also of the view that, on a national level, the problem of crop damage by birds was not significant. He
emphasised that the problem of superabundant species and the question of whether live exports of native
Australian birds should be allowed, 'were two totally separate issues which should be addressed
13.24 The South Australian Government, which allows ranching of agricultural pest species, also agrees
that these birds should not be subject to proposals to export them. As explained by Mr Lindsay Best of
There is once again another myth around that you could export some of our pest bird problems, such as
the large cockatoos, because on the black market they fetch a lot of money. But they are pest birds. A
high proportion of them carry parrot diseases, they stress easily in captivity coming from the wild, so we
would not support that. They are not going to solve the problem of damage to crops either
13.25 Finally, Animal Liberation (Victoria) claimed in its submission to the Committee that the problem
of pest species of birds was 'a human creation' and that killing birds or catching them for export was not
a realistic solution to crop damage. The organisation believes that 'crop and livestock practices should
be developed which would minimise their attractiveness and vulnerability to birds'. 
Ranching of Wild Birds
13.26 In New South Wales, it is an offence to take birds from the wild except under licence. Licences
are issued each year to three expert bird trappers to trap sulphur crested cockatoos and galahs where
pest mitigation permits have been issued to protect crops. Birds trapped in this way must be released
elsewhere or sold to the pet trade. 
13.27 In South Australia, galahs and little corellas are considered to be agricultural pests and permits
can be obtained by people to trap birds or take juveniles from nest hollows for the live pet trade.
Several thousand birds are ranched from the wild in this way each year. However, while conditions are
attached to the permits which address animal welfare issues and which ensure that no habitat destruction
occurs, the South Australian Government acknowledges that 'it is likely that a considerable proportion of
birds taken in this manner die before reaching maturity'. 
13.28 As a general principle, the Victorian Government does not support harvesting of birds from the
wild on the basis that most species are now already represented in aviaries and because of the potential
impact on bird populations and their habitats. However, three species can be taken from the wild under
permit (sulphur-crested cockatoos, galahs and long-billed corellas). These birds may then be sold by
commercial wildlife controllers to local wildlife dealers for sale to the Australian public only. This
program is supported by monitoring to ensure that it does not have an impact on the conservation status
of the species. 
13.29 The Northern Territory Government fully supports the sustainable use of wildlife as a legitimate
land use strategy. As part of this philosophy, the government has moved to allow the ranching of
red-tailed black cockatoo eggs and hatchlings from the wild under a species management plan. 
Through this, the government believes, an economic return can be gained by people in remote locations
and land can be managed in a way that will benefit conservation of not only the species but the whole
habitat in which it lives.
13.30 In arguing the case for this program, a representative of the Northern Territory Government, Dr
Bill Freeland, stated:
is for the welfare of the individual cockatoo. That puts an onus on us to ensure that the
product that we export, or even ship to Melbourne or wherever else, is one that is of a high quality. That
means one that is well acclimated to human contact, that knows people and knows modern society, if
you like, so that it is not going to get stressed out; one that is tame and friendly.
There are two ways to achieve that. One is to put them in a large aviary and breed them, and export the
product. That has no return for conservation whatsoever; no value for conservation in any sense at all. If
you look at our draft management program for red-tailed black cockatoos, you will notice that it is a
ranching program, similar to the crocodile program, where we are advocating the harvesting of eggs and
fledglings which would be hand reared. They would then be well acclimated to people and modern
surroundings and be capable of being transferred and transported around the place without undue stress.
In other words, captive breeding will produce what you are looking for, but ranching will do the same
thing and give you additional benefits. 
13.31 In support of the program, biologists Vardon, Noske and Moyle claimed in a 1996 conference
The proposed management is appropriate given that the alternative strategy, 'do-nothing', has failed in
other parts of Australia and that limited public funds are available for species or habitat conservation.
Provided adequate resources are dedicated to implementing the management program, a catastrophic
collapse in the Northern Territory population is highly unlikely, whereas the species will almost certainly
benefit from increased awareness and a greater understanding of its biology by private landowners. It
will also make a valuable contribution to the science of sustainable utilisation of wild resources. 
13.32 However, AACW objects to the Northern Territory red-tailed black cockatoo management plan.
In general, AACW believes that the plan is 'not only contradictory in terms of conserving the species and
their habitats, but seeks to mislead the reader and allay any fears one may have in terms of long-term
survival of the species'. The AACW believes that the aim of the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife
Commission of 'minimising illegal harvests' by allowing commercialisation, is 'a most naive and dangerous
mentality to adopt, especially when the same department is responsible for conserving, maintaining and
monitoring this species and the habitat they depend on'. In the opinion of AACW, placing a commercial
value on black cockatoos will logically lead to further threats to the status of wild birds from poachers,
farmers and 'anyone seeking to make a quick commercial return'. Specific criticisms of the plan included
the opinion that commercialisation of black cockatoos will result in subsidies from the government to
private entrepreneurs and that the plan gave no consideration to the impact that the species may have on
the importing country. 
13.33 Parrot expert, Mr Joseph Forshaw, also expressed opposition to the Northern Territory program.
In addition to concerns about the efficacy of identification, he argued that the Northern Territory
proposal was '
ill-conceived and poorly researched'.  In his view, the program was based on 'bad
science' because information was lacking on recruitment levels of red-tailed black cockatoos; a
significant point because the species was capable of great longevity and any failure in recruitment may
not become evident for many years, by which time it may be too late for the population to recover. He
argued that the scheme was not economic and that the returns to the expected land-holder would not
eventuate, particularly as the world demand for birds raised from ranched eggs was diminishing. 
13.34 In addition, the AFA did not support the concept of ranching of birds (or eggs) because of the
possible harm to wild populations.  In its view, wild harvesting should only be used to initiate or
supplement captive breeding. As described by the AFA, although populations of many of the larger
species of birds, such as the black and white cockatoos, are believed to be stable in terms of size, recent
research suggests that those populations are ageing and that, because of habitat destruction and resultant
loss of nesting sites, recruitment of juveniles into the populations may not be occurring at a fast enough
rate to prevent their demise at some later stage. Thus while ranching may appear sustainable now, it may
not be in the very long term.  If breeding adults are taken it may take years before the remaining
juveniles are old enough to breed. If too many juveniles are taken, there may be a considerable gap in
the demography of the breeding population at a later time. Many species of birds mate 'for life' and if
one partner of a breeding pair were removed, the other partner may not ever breed again.
13.35 The ranching of eggs also has problems. Newly hatched hand-reared birds imprint on humans and
while those individuals may make good pets, they may fail to breed when they are adults. Some species,
such as finches, cannot be satisfactorily hand-reared from incubated eggs because their small size results
in a job that is far too labour-intensive to be economic. However, they do breed on their own very
successfully in aviaries.  In addition, ranching of eggs or juveniles may cause inadvertent damage to
wild populations through disturbance to nests and nesting sites, and to individuals through invasion of
13.36 The AFA believes that, as a mechanism for preserving habitat, ranching does not work for birds
as total habitat requirements are unlikely to be met by a single rural property because feed sources are
wide and varied, with strong seasonal influences, and nesting trees are often not associated with food
sources. This means that the property owners with the nesting trees would benefit from ranching at the
expense of property owners with the food resources.
13.37 In addition to the AFA, several aviculturists in the Northern Territory who gave evidence to the
Committee, did not support the ranching of birds, except as a one-off exercise to obtain foundation
breeding stock. Mr Peter McGrath of the Northern Territory Parrot Breeding and Export Centre, for
example, stated that he did not support the continual harvesting of black cockatoos because there was
insufficient information about the life history of the species and, in particular, recruitment rates over time.
He suggested instead, that land owners be recompensed for making efforts to retain wildlife by allowing
them to establish or participate in captive breeding programs from establishment stock taken from their
land or through the payment of royalties.  Mr Phil Reader of the Northern Territory Cockatoo
Breeding and Research Centre stated in evidence that if ranching were allowed, it should only be of
juvenile animals, taken from nests to reduce the stress on the bird, and that they should only be given or
sold to specialised aviculturists on the domestic market and not released in the pet trade. 
13.38 Alderman Geoff Harris of Alice Springs expressed concern that there was insufficient scientific
data to support the Northern Territory Government's decision and that an independent cost-benefit
study was needed for the proposal. In addition, he noted that if the harvesting program looked
detrimental to the species, but that industry had already invested in the trial, the option of complete
cessation of the program was not one that would be readily considered. 
13.39 Animal Liberation (Victoria) totally opposed the capture of wild birds for any commercial or
non-commercial use, primarily because 'to condemn a previously free-ranging bird to a life in a small
cage is an insufferable cruelty, not to mention the stress of its capture and the fact that it will no longer
have the company of its own kind
this concept is ethically and morally wrong'.  In addition,
Animal Liberation agreed with the view that wild caught birds do not make good pets.
13.40 Finally, despite the efforts of the Northern Territory Government to place a conservation value on
native wildlife, the ranching of birds for export markets may never eventuate for the simple reason that
many countries have placed or are moving towards placing a ban on the import of wild-caught birds.
The USA for example, has legislated to prohibit the import of non-captive-bred birds. 
Obtaining Breeding Stock from the Wild
13.41 In the late 1980s, the Northern Territory Parks and Conservation Commission, in conjunction
with several aviculturists,  took from the wild fifty red-tailed black cockatoos to use as breeding
stock. The birds were taken from a region some 80 km south of Darwin where they were causing
damage to rice crop and were being shot under pest control licences by farmers. At the time they were
taken, witnesses observed that there were between 5,000 and 15,000 birds in the flock, and so the
small number taken resulted in little difference to the amount of damage to the crops. What did result
was two things: access by aviculturists to native species of bird for breeding purposes;  and a
greater degree of understanding between aviculturists, farmers and government officials of the problems
caused by superabundant red-tailed black cockatoos, and of ways of addressing them. The final
outcome has been a formal cockatoo management program for the Northern Territory, released in
Captive-Breeding of Rare or Endangered Species
13.42 The survival of birds that have been kept in captivity and subsequently released into the wild
depends on a variety of factors. Birds that have been bred in captivity and hand-reared, and which have
imprinted on humans generally do not survive. If released, they frequently return to the cage for security.
Some pet birds are allowed by their owners to free-fly, after which time they return for food and
protection. Birds that are hand-reared often do not breed as readily as parent-reared birds and so
aviculturists handle breeding stock much less than they handle birds intended to be companion animals.
Birds that are bred with the intention of release into the wild are treated differently again and may have
little or no human contact and are encouraged to forage by more natural methods.
13.43 With this knowledge, private aviculturists are playing an increasing role in the breeding of rare or
endangered species to build up stocks for return to the wild. Having noted the fact that quite a number of
uncommon or rare Australian birds are more abundant in aviaries, several government conservation
departments have enlisted the support of private aviculturists in breeding programs.
13.44 A example of this is the effort made by CALM to increase the abundance of the Naretha
bluebonnet parrot (Northiella haematogaster narethae) and prevent poaching of it. This species is not
endangered but has a restricted distribution in the wooded fringes of the Nullarbor. Although not a
ground dwelling bird, it feeds and drinks at ground level. Because of its status, aviculturists were
reluctant to keep it in aviaries and so it was subject to considerable poaching from the wild for overseas
markets where it was much sought after. 
13.45 CALM approved the capture of 40 birds from the wild and their lease to private aviculturists who
were able to build up numbers for subsequent release back to the wild and for sale within Australia. In
addition, conservation efforts in the wild were assisted by a landowner who provided facilities which
enabled the bird to drink without drowning.
13.46 According to aviculturist Ms Diana Anderson, the program was very successful:
The birds were
DNA tested before they were ever handed out. Their genetic imprint, their DNA
imprint, is kept on record, and the birds were shared up amongst a group of aviculturists. Now, the
breeding success of those birds in captivity has been extremely good. Any of the birds can be traced
back to the original birds that were trapped at any stage through the DNA testing. It has made them a
great deal more available in aviculture, and it has brought the price down to something that is more
The program is now considered terminated and CALM no longer owns any of the birds. They were
put up to public tender. But I have a pair that I can go into CALM and find out where they came from
by their DNA testing and their identification rings. 
13.47 However, representatives of the Conservation Council of Western Australia criticised the way in
which the program was conducted and, in particular, asserted that there had been insufficient community
consultation as to whether it was the best way to look after endangered species. According to Council
Coordinator, Ms Rachel Siewert:
There was some years ago an outcry over taking blue bonnets from the natural environment and
commercialising those, allowing breeders to breed them. Concerns there were that it was not put out to
the public before it occurred, that tenders were not specifically called, is my understanding. There was
some concern about the way that the process was handled. There was concern about the lack of
scientific information on the blue bonnets and the supporting data
the fact that the issue has not been
widely debated in the community and concern about whether this is the best way to look after species
that are endangered
13.48 Despite this criticism, CALM believes that the Naretha bluebonnet program has been very
successful. As well as providing an income of $23,000 from the sale of birds to contribute to CALM's
avicultural management and research funds,  pressure from poaching on wild populations has been
reduced and possibly eliminated, and information about the biology of the species has been gathered:
[It] has proven to be successful in terms of providing the supply that the avicultural fanciers wanted to
have. We believe it has reduced, if not eliminated, the pressure on the wild population in terms of
poaching that was going on, and it has returned a direct benefit to conservation in terms of knowledge of
the status of that population by the genetic and other scientific studies that we did in association with that
operation. It has provided some funding by virtue of the payments that the aviculturists made that have
been ploughed back into avicultural management and research. 
13.49 With the success of the bluebonnet program, the Department has extended the concept of private
sector involvement in conservation to several other species. This has included white-tailed black
cockatoos, where CALM approved the ranching of 40 eggs for incubation and hand rearing by private
aviculturists,  and Gouldian finches which were reduced dramatically in number in the Kimberley
region of Western Australia by a throat mite. On that occasion, a group of aviculturists donated some
pure-bred stock which were successfully released back into the wild by CALM.  Programs for
more species commenced in 1996-97, including Muir's corella (threatened subspecies, none known in
aviculture), Carnaby's cockatoo (specially protected and difficult to breed in captivity), red-eared firetail
finch (specially protected and rare in aviculture) and the southern emu-wren (none in aviculture). 
13.50 Returns for the sale of birds within Australia vary considerably between species and over time. In
the pet industry, birds are akin to fashion items: one species will be popular for a period of time, to be
superseded at a later stage by another species. However, very large birds, such as galahs and cockatoos
remain fashionable, as do brightly coloured birds.
13.51 Over the last decade, advances in avicultural management techniques and avian veterinary care
has resulted in dramatic increases in the number of birds in aviaries in Australia. This has created a
surplus of birds to current domestic market requirements and there has been a consequent downturn in
the market value for captive-bred birds.  At the moment, returns for bird sales in Australia are
seriously limited by both the small size of the domestic market and the inability of legitimate breeders to
export surplus stock and aviculturists are now finding it difficult to meet costs and to dispose of surplus
13.52 The AFA claims that there are significant markets for a number of Australian birds overseas and if
export was approved, the returns for captive-bred native birds could be quite high. Young black
cockatoos retail for between $2,500 (Red-tails) and $7,000 (Glossy) in Australia and these prices have
held for many years. Recent evidence suggests that a pair of black cockatoos could sell for as much as
$30,000 in America.  Although prices could be expected to drop if the sale of Australian birds
overseas was legalised, the industry believes that it may take considerable time for the market to become
saturated, if ever. The AFA believes that margins on sales of this magnitude are sufficient to cover
transport, microchipping and DNA profiling. 
13.53 The value of Australian native birds, in Australia and overseas, was considered by RIRDC in its
report on Sustainable Economic Use of Native Australian Birds and Reptiles, and a selection of
prices taken from that report is listed below in Table 13.1. As noted in the RIRDC report, overseas
prices are consistently higher and prices for large birds are higher than for small birds, reflecting the
lower fecundity and greater difficulty in breeding large birds.
13.54 According to Ms Anderson, allowing the export of native birds would 'inject vitality into a
struggling industry and would be considered a valuable export industry for Australia'.  She noted that
the practice of aviculture in many overseas countries was well developed and that large, specialised
breeding complexes would be capable of breeding many of the smaller and more prolific Australian
species within a ten year period, which would eliminate the need for further importations of Australian
stock. However, within that period demand would be high and profitable.
13.55 As an example of the potential for expansion, Ms Anderson noted that an avicultural enterprise in
Manila, 'Birds International', which houses six thousand birds on a six-acre property, breeds to order
large quantities of birds for overseas markets. They retain 15 per cent of stock bred each year for future
breeding. Ms Anderson believes that 'similar establishments could be developed in Australia to house
specifically Australian species of birds and the benefit to the Australian economy in terms of trade would
be substantial'. Flow-on effects could include a boost to domestic markets for birds and a rejuvenated
interest in breeding birds in captivity which could assist the recovery of rare species in the wild. 
13.56 The AFA has noted the Model Avicultural Program (MAP) established in America (see Box:
Model Avicultural Program) and believes that a similar program would benefit the industry in
Australia. If exportation was legalised, such a program could make a significant contribution to both
regulation and to the welfare of captive birds.
|Bird||Australian Price ($AUS)||Overseas Price ($AUS)|
|Red-tailed black cockatoo||1,750||8,900|
|Major Mitchell cockatoo||350||300|
|Sulphur crested cockatoo||60||1,200|
Table 13.1 Comparison of prices for various species of Australian birds sold in Australia and in
America (Source: 1997 Sustainable Economic of Native Australian Birds and Reptiles Can
controlled trade improve conservation of species? A Summary Report RIRDC Research Paper
Series No. 97/26a, p. 3).
Export of Captive-Bred Native Birds
13.57 There are very many Australian birds in overseas aviaries and clearly a continuing strong market
for Australian birds, particularly the less common species. However, because, in practical terms, the
Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982 prohibits the commercial export
of live birds for profit, aviculturists who have kept birds for many generations in captivity are prevented
from participating in international trade in those birds. This is despite the fact that those birds can be
traded anywhere within Australia for commercial gain, despite the fact that many Australian species
already exist in overseas aviaries and despite the fact that many of the birds kept in captivity in Australia
no longer resemble their wild ancestors.
13.58 Many aviculturists believe that it is bureaucratic hypocrisy for state governments to issue pest
destruction permits which allow the shooting of cockatoos in natural habitat because they are causing
damage to crops, but to not allow any revenue to be raised from the same species of birds through
breeding and export.  While aviculturists argue that there are no logical reasons to continue the ban
on exportation of live native birds, they also argue that some conservation benefits may in fact accrue
from an export scheme. 
13.59 From evidence presented to the Committee is was clear that the avicultural industry in Australia,
and a number of other independent groups, support changing provisions of the Wildlife Protection
(Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982 to allow the limited export of native birds. 
Generally, there are two main reasons given for this:
- the expansion of the current captive-bred bird industry into overseas markets would earn export
revenue and generate flow-on economic benefits to Australia; and
- the legalising of the international bird trade would undermine illegal trade in wildlife (smuggling).
13.60 In addition to reducing the incentive to smuggle, the avicultural industry believes that the export of
native birds may result in a number of other direct and indirect benefits to conservation:
- information gathered by breeders is relevant to birds in the wild and the management of them;
- increased incentives to maintain and breed rare birds would help expand their gene pool;
- a levy on exports could return money to conservation;
- aviary bred birds could be returned to the wild under certain circumstances; and
- the export of native birds would be a source of education to people overseas which may result in
an increase in inbound nature-based tourism.
13.61 The Queensland Council of Bird Societies, supported by the AFA and many others, 
recommended that Australia introduce a well regulated trial of the limited export of some endemic,
captive-bred specimens of selected species, particularly those species that have been the target of illegal
poaching from the wild and smuggling overseas. Many aviculturists who gave evidence to the Committee
supported the idea that legalising the export of Australian birds would undermine illegal operations and
would thus have a beneficial impact on conservation. 
13.62 The specific proposal made by the Queensland Council of Bird Societies emphasised the need for
government involvement in overseas trade in birds. Such a scheme would allow the generation of
revenue not only for those involved in commercial ventures, but for administration costs. Any revenue
surplus to the cost of administration could be used for scientific research and the conservation of rare or
endangered species.  This proposal is based on the fact that there are large numbers of breeding
stock of many species in aviaries and that those species could withstand regular 'farming' for export, 
and the fact that there is a strong market overseas for quiet, hand-reared birds.  In addition, because
the proposal was based on the export of captive-bred birds, all already held legally, there would be no
detrimental environmental impact and, in fact, there could be a significant conservation benefit through a
reduction in illegal poaching and smuggling activities.
13.63 Other features of the scheme were that it would:
- follow a best practice model for the keeping and transport of birds (such as the American Model
- be self funded on a user-pay basis;
- use technology such as microchips and DNA profiles for identification of individual birds and
progeny lines for rare or endangered species;
- allow only accredited and licensed breeders to export;
- require certification procedures for all birds that would provide evidence of disease status,
quarantine status, airline approval and importation approval;
- require veterinary certification to comply with AQIS protocols; and
- require all birds to be exported in accordance with International Air Transport Association
13.64 In support of a change to Federal restrictions on the export of native birds, a recent RIRDC
The potential value of wildlife species outside reserves should be allowed to be realised to help protect
habitat and thereby safeguard wildlife populations in the long term and even assist increase numbers.
The current management regime for Australian birds and reptiles by State and the Commonwealth
should be altered to allow the export of specimens of a limited range of species on a trial basis.
1. Initially, captive breeding, focusing on smaller species to which animals welfare concerns are less
likely to apply. For example: budgerigars and cockatiels, if market demand indicates it is worth while at
2. The harvesting from the wild of surplus young before hand rearing in captivity (ranching) for common
species. Species of potential for the trial include: galahs, sulphur-crested cockatoos
3. Next ranching operations should be extended to less common species but only as part of a
management plan that includes prior habitat improvement, mortality control and agreement to release
back into the wild. The scheme could include less common species such as: gang gang, Major Mitchell
and red-tailed black cockatoos, birds of prey such as peregrine falcons, cassowaries, bustards.
The provisions and requirements of CITES in regard to ranching, breeding species in captivity and
transport should be used as the minimum criteria set for the proposal above. 
13.65 The Western Australia Government supports the limited export of some species of captive-bred
native birds. According to the Director of CALM, Mr Keiran McNamara:
We in CALM and ministers that I have worked for have, on various occasions, put to the federal
government,both in ANZECC, the ministerial council, and directly in the review of the Wildlife
Protection (Regulations of Exports and Imports) Act,that that ban on live bird exports should be lifted.
Beyond that it is not a matter that we have devoted, if you like, a huge amount of attention to, because
the ban remains. Should it be lifted we would look at how various exports from captive bred or wild
sourced birds might take place and what species might or might not be suitable for that. 
13.66 Mr McNamara suggested that the technology was available to properly manage such a program
without adverse impacts on the conservation of species in the wild. Should the ban be lifted, however,
Mr McNamara cautioned that it would not be a solution to the problem of superabundant birds, and that
the high levels of return which have been suggested may not eventuate. In addition, there were a number
of other issues that would need to be taken into account, such as animal welfare.  In this regard, the
Australian Veterinary Association commented that to be considered humane, exports would have to be
limited and strictly controlled. 
Objections to Commercialisation and Export of Birds
13.67 In Australia there is a small but vocal lobby opposed to the trapping and selling of native birds, the
export of all birds and the phasing out of caged birds altogether.  These views are based on the
fundamental belief that it is immoral to cage birds.  In its submission to the Committee, the Native
Bird Liberation Alliance (NBLA) made a series of points arguing a case against legalising the export of
Australian birds. The arguments against allowing export were as follows: 
- legalising export of birds would not reduce the illegal trade as smugglers would move to those rare
species which were not legally available;
- permitting export would only increase enforcement problems for customs officials in attempting to
distinguish allowed species from prohibited species; 
- the legal entry of some species into overseas countries would focus attention on Australian birds
which would increase demand for more unusual species;
- allowing the exportation of superabundant or 'pest' species will not solve the problems caused by
those birds in agricultural areas;
- it is irresponsible to send 'pest' species to other countries where they may become established as
- transportation causes unacceptable stress to birds, many of which die in transit; 
- importing birds to other countries exposes them to diseases that they are not immune to;
- the export of wild-caught birds is contrary to the spirit of resolutions passed by CITES in 1976 in
Berne, and the IUCN in 1978;
- allowing captive-bred birds to be sold in pet shops encourages the illegal trapping of wild caught
birds for retail sale;
- although some revenue for conservation research could be obtained from exports, the main
people to profit from export trade would be a small number of dealers; and
- permitting exportation of Australian native birds would weaken the Wildlife Protection
(Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982 and set a precent for the export of all sorts of
other native animals. 
13.68 However, the avicultural industry, as represented by the AFA, strongly contests these views and a
summary of objections is given in Table 13.2.
13.69 Although sympathetic to the view taken by the AFA, that export of captive-bred birds be
allowed, parrot expert Mr Joseph Forshaw outlined two concerns. The first was that despite recent
advances in identification technology (DNA profiling and microchipping), 'a recent overturning by an
appeal court of a conviction based on DNA fingerprinting must bring into doubt the adequacy of the
technique for enforcement purposes'.  The second, and possibly more significant issue was that, in
the opinion of Mr Forshaw, the export of captive-bred birds would bring about increased demand for
rarer birds or birds which were not easily bred in captivity. This in turn would bring an upsurge in the
illegal taking of birds from the wild.  In support of this view, Mr Joseph Forshaw argued that as long
as the costs of breeding were higher than the costs of unregulated harvesting, smuggling of wild caught
birds would continue. In his submission, he stated: 'There can be no doubt that legal export of harvested
or captive-bred parrots will be more costly for both exporter and importer than is the smuggling of eggs.
Consequently I foresee little or no decrease of smuggling as a result of relaxation of existing controls on
13.70 Mr Forshaw argued that the proof of this lay in the fact that accompanying the legalising of
importation of exotic birds into Australia, had been an upsurge in illegal importation. This was evidenced
by the number of exotic birds now commercially available in Australia that were not available here prior
to the import ban being introduced.  He concluded that:
Before any change in policy is made to allow the export of captive-bred birds, there must be a critical
analysis by State, Territory and Commonwealth wildlife authorities of all possible implications, and the
avicultural community must demonstrate a willingness to eliminate all illicit activities, a stand that it has not
been eager to adopt with respect to illegal importation. 
13.71 However, the Cape York Herpetological Society suggested that the upsurge in illegal importation
of exotic birds was a consequence of the excessively expensive and bureaucratic provisions of the
scheme. Because it was near impossible to bring exotic birds into Australia legally (the complete process
has 10 stages which may take up to three years to complete), the illegal trade remained competitive and
was ultimately preferred. 
|Case Against Export||Case For Export|
|Smuggling would not decrease, it
would move to rarer, non-legal
species. ||It is time consuming and costly to trap birds in the wild, and cheaper to source
them from aviaries. For common species, allowing export of captive-bred birds
would eliminate any incentive to take from the wild, simply on economic grounds.
For rare or valuable species, the incentive would still exist, but these species
would be excluded from trade and thus any attempt to export them through legal
channels could be detected. Smuggling of rare species may still occur, but as more
species were permitted to be bred in aviaries, and ultimately exported, incentives
to trade in them would be removed as well. |
|Increase in customs enforcement
problems.||A DNA system of identification and MAP certification would in fact make
enforcement relatively easy.|
|Exportation of 'pest' species will
not solve the problems caused by
those birds.||The AVA agrees that exportation of pest species will not solve problems in
agricultural areas and disagrees with ranching of adult birds.|
|It is irresponsible to send 'pest'
species to other countries, and the
importing country would not
accept the birds anyway. ||The proposed system would allow only captive-bred birds to be exported.
Hand-reared birds have a very low survival rate in the wild in Australia and would
have even less chance of survival in a foreign habitat if they escaped from a cage.
Because overseas buyers would pay a relatively large amount of money for
imported birds, the chance of them being set free would be very low. Overseas
countries have the right to refuse the importation of exotic birds. The AFA is
opposed to the live trapping of wild birds for trade, whether they are a pest to
crops or not.|
unacceptable stress to birds, many
of which die in transit. ||In the past, the conditions that birds were transported in were not good. Better
methods of transport have increased survival rates to almost 100%. Mortality
during shipment nowadays is more often caused by poor quarantine procedures in
the receiving country, than conditions during transit. Wild caught birds succumb to
stress more readily than captive-bred birds. Traders do not sell expensive,
captive-bred birds and then neglect shipping arrangement. |
|Importing birds to other countries
exposes them to diseases that they
are not immune to.||Most aviaries maintain a high level of sanitation to protect their own birds from
disease. Buyers of expensive birds could be expected to take all precautions to
keep the imported birds healthy. Export permits could be conditional on birds
being sold to MAP customers only. |
|The export of wild-caught birds is
contrary to the spirit of resolutions
passed by CITES.||Ironically, many of the species of birds that are rare in Australia, and listed under
CITES Appendix I or II, are very common in aviaries. These birds have been
bred in captivity for so long that they should no longer be considered as 'wildlife',
but as 'livestock'. CITES is a convention that was established with the purpose of
allowing trade, not prohibiting it.  The AFA, however, does not condone the
capture of wild birds for export purposes and suggests that there would be little
economic benefit from it.  |
|Allowing captive-bred birds to be
sold in pet shops encourages the
illegal trapping of wild caught birds
for retail sale.  ||Wild caught birds do not make good pets; they are not friendly to people and
suffer stress when handled. Any pet shop owner who sold wild caught birds would
have many disgruntled customers. The sale of rare species within Australia is
controlled by a licence system. |
|The main people to profit from
export trade would be a small
number of dealers.||Trade in any commodity may result in profit, or loss, but development of the
aviculture industry through an increase in export markets would result in economic
benefits to other sectors (eg. construction materials for aviaries, purchase of bird
feed, veterinary care and employment in aviaries). |
|Permitting exportation of Australian
native birds would weaken the
Wildlife Protection (Regulation
of Exports and Imports) Act
1982 and set a precent for the
export of all sorts of other native
animals.||All wildlife export applications should be considered on a species-by-species
basis. It does not automatically follow that allowing the export of one or some
species of birds, will result in approvals for the export of all wildlife. The AFA
advocates a carefully controlled and monitored system. |
Table 13.2 - Summary of issues for and against the export of captive-bred native birds, as debated by
the NBLA and the AFA.
Summary and Conclusions
13.72 The avicultural industry in Australia is large and well established, and commercial trade in native
birds has existed within Australia for many years. Almost all endemic birds species are now kept and
bred in captivity and many species which are rare in the wild ironically exist in large numbers in captivity.
The avicultural industry believes that second or later generation native birds, bred in captivity, should no
longer be defined as 'wildlife' but instead should be defined as 'livestock'. Wild-caught birds are difficult
to manage in captivity and do not make good companion animals, whereas captive-bred, hand-reared
birds can make very good pets.
13.73 The Committee does not agree with the routine capture and commercial use of adult wild
birds and believes that, with the exception of particular circumstances where the capture of a
limited number of birds, accompanied by an approved management plan, may result in some
conservation benefit, harvesting adult birds from the wild should be prohibited.
13.74 The avicultural industry believes that there is no longer any rational reason for prohibiting the
export of captive-bred native birds, and that in fact there may be good reasons for allowing their export.
These reasons relate to both the economics of the industry and the conservation status of various birds.
The industry is keen to have commercial use of native birds extended to the export trade, under a well
regulated scheme. However, some community groups hold opposing views and are keen to ensure that
no changes are made to the legislation.
13.75 While a number of arguments against legalised export of live native birds have been raised, the
most significant in terms of conservation and biodiversity is whether such a change would reduce
activities associated with the illegal removal of birds from the wild. As stated in Chapter Seven
(Paragraph 7.73), the Committee notes that prohibition of trade has not prevented smuggling
of live birds (or eggs) overseas and that private enterprise in other countries has benefited
from commercial use of Australian species.
Box: 'Gene Science' - Avian DNA Sexing
New technology can now be used to determine the sex of a bird from either a feather or blood sample.
The company, Gene Science, which performs the DNA test at the Department of Biochemistry and
Molecular Biology (Monash University), claims that the test is 99.9% accurate. For a test conducted on
feathers, two secondary feathers or one growing or 'blood' feather is required. For a blood test, a small
drop of blood is taken by clipping the bird's toe nail. The feathers and blood samples can be sent by mail
and the result are usually received within 5 days. A certificate is issued with the results.
The DNA Sex Test uses a sex linked gene which gives distinctive and different banding patterns for
males and females. The procedure costs between $38 and $48 per test, depending on the type of test
(feather or blood), and the number of tests requested at any one time. Testing for parentage requires a
blood sample and cannot be done with just feathers. If the DNA profile of both parents has been
determined, then progeny can be positively identified as coming from those parents. 
Box: Model Avicultural Program
In America, a Model Avicultural Program (MAP) has been designed by aviculturists and avian
veterinarians to improve avicultural practices through the setting of standards for husbandry and to
provide for the certification of approved establishments. The scheme is run by a non-profit service
organisation, the cost of which is funded through application fees. Administration of the scheme is carried
out by a part-time employee and it is managed by a voluntary Board of Directors assisted by an
There are three key elements to MAP:
(1) The use of models and guidelines for husbandry practices (quarantine, safety systems, caging,
nutrition, nursery, and record keeping) which are used for planning and improving facilities, and
inspections by veterinarians.
(2) The use of veterinarians as inspectors, and inspections of facilities and record keeping procedures
prior to certification.
(3) The use of a 'closed aviary' concept, comprising isolated keeping areas for different activities
(quarantine, transition, breeding, nursery, adult birds, food stores, etc) to assist in disease control.
MAP is intended for use at any level, from the hobbyist holding a few birds to businesses with very large
holdings, and institutions such as public zoos. Guidelines are available for aviculturists to follow in the
planning, construction and maintenance of model avian facilities. Inspection by veterinarians for
certification requires a response to a series of questions relating to quarantine, safety systems and locks,
cages and flights, cleaning, sanitation and vermin control, capture and handling of birds, nestboxes,
nutrition, paediatrics and record keeping systems.
Once a facility has been certified, all birds sold by MAP participants must be accompanied by written
conditions which include not only information about the particular bird, but directions and instructions
regarding basic care, husbandry and nutrition for the bird sold. Benefits of participation in MAP include
access to information, record keeping forms and model contracts for a variety of agreements (deposit,
sale, handfeeding, boarding, breeding loans and consignment). Greater benefits, such as access to
surplus stock from public zoos, including several major US zoos, are also available to MAP participants.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 114.
 Submission No. 88, p. 4.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 406.
 Submission No. 195, p. 19. Note: the AVA endorsed the submission sent by the QCBS.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T p. 495, Submission No. 195, p. 5. Note: some exotic species may also be in
greater numbers in Australian aviaries than they are in their native habitat (Evidence, p. RRA&T 121).
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 255.
 Approved institutions and approved zoological organisations are those which are declared as such
by instrument of the 'Designated Authority' and published in the Gazette.
 For more information about NEBRS see http://www.biodiversity.environment.gov.au, or Email to:
 Submission No. 195, p. 4.
 For species with no sex related differences in plumage, sex determination is made difficult by the
fact that their reproductive organs are entirely internal.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 407, 496.
 Submission No. 59, p. 1; see also Evidence, p. RRA&T 405.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 256.
 Submission No. 181.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 497-9.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 424-5.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 527.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 532.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 534.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 208.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 505. See also evidence given by Mr Raymond Hoser (Evidence, p. RRA&T
1037) and Mr Bill Zingleman (Evidence, p. RRA&T 258), both of whom have spent a considerable
amount of time and money tracking smuggling operations which have involved, among other things,
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 527-8.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 699.
 See for example, Evidence, p. RRA&T 502.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 505.
 Evidence, pp. RRA&T 496-7, 521, 527.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 122.
 Submission No. 181, p. 2.
 Submission No.12, p. 4.
 Evidence, pp. RRA&T 115, 122,
 Submission No. 341, p. 1.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 124.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 42-3.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 1203.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 556.
 Submission No. 87, p. 11.
 Submission No. 88, p. 4.
 Submission No. 318, p. 20.
 Submission No. 314, p. 10, Evidence, p. RRA&T 925.
 A Trial Management Program for the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhychus banksii) in
the Northern Territory of Australia, Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory,
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 181.
 Vardon, M., Noske, R. and Moyle, B. 1997 Harvesting black cockatoos in the Northern
Territory: catastrophe or conservation? Australian Biologist 10(1):84-93.
 Submission No. 57, attached letter from Ms Lindy Stacker, on behalf of Australians Against the
Commercialisation of Wildlife, to Mr Stephen Ward, Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern
Territory, dated 4 November 1996.
 Submission No. 181, p. 3.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 1206-8.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 122, Submission No. 195, p. 6.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 115.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 123-4. The Nature Conservation Society of South Australia does not
support the Northern Territory proposal on the basis that no country has ever been able to successfully
regulate the trapping and trading of live birds as cage birds (Submission No. 301, p. 3).
 Submission No. 105, p. 3.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 409.
 Submission No. 79, p. 3.
 Submission No. 87, p. 13.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 255.
 Including the Northern Territory Cockatoo Breeding and Research Centre (Submission No. 59)
and the Northern Territory Parrot Breeding and Export Centre (Submission No. 105).
 Of the 50 birds taken, over 98 % were successfully used for breeding; the other 2% was not used
because of an excess of male birds (Submission No. 59, p. 1.).
 A Trial Management Program for the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii)
in the Northern Territory of Australia, Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory,
 Submission No. 195, p. 14.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 499.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 486.
 Submission No. 329, p. 3.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 521.
 Submission No. 195, p. 15; Evidence, p. RRA&T 521.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 532, but see Evidence, p. RRA&T 663.
 Submission No. 329, p. 4.
 For example, Mr Phil Reader of the Northern Territory Cockatoo Breeding and Research Centre,
stated in evidence to the Committee that a pair of red-tailed black cockatoos had sold in 1996 for
$5,000 but that the market had dropped considerably since then. A hooded parrot, endemic to the
Northern Territory, had been worth more than $500 in 1994 but were now worth about $60 a pair.
Evidence, p. RRA&T 411.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 495.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 406.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 120, 408; Submission No. 341, p. 1. The AFA notes that recently a plane
load of Alpacas were freighted from South America, through Australian quarantine for unit prices less
than those for black cockatoos.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 496.
 Submission No. 181, p. 2.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 115.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 114.
 Including the AVA (as cited in Submission No. 195, p. 6); See also Submission No.s 59 & 183.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 114, 412, 542.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 426, 493, 508.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 115-6.
 Submission No. 195, p. 5.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 115.
 Submission No. 195, pp. 19-21.
 RIRDC 1997 Sustainable Economic Use of Native Australian Birds and Reptiles - Can
controlled trade improve conservation overseas species? Summary of a report of the same name by
ACIL Economics Pty Ltd in conjunction with Agriculture Western Australia, RIRDC Research Paper
Series No. 97/26, pp. 111-112.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 529.
 Submission No. 187, p. 1.
 The Victorian group, Freedom for Birds, for example, has the aim of persuading people not to
keep birds as pets. The organisation surveys retail outlets for compliance with the Victoria Code of
Practice for the Display and Keeping of birds. While the group argues that caging deprives birds of one
of their most basic needs (to fly), it is opposed to the freeing of caged birds on the basis that this action
further promotes the trade because the freed bird is quickly replaced. In addition, freed birds are
vulnerable to predation and stress, and there is a risk of altering the genetic purity of wild populations.
Instead, the group offers a resettlement option where caged birds can be taken to a much larger aviary
and housed with other birds of its type. Source: 'Any Cage is too Small for a Bird', Margaret Berryman,
Animal Liberation Magazine Oct-Nov 1991, pp 4-5.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 154; see also ANZFAS Submission No. 178, pp. 20-21.
 In evidence to the Committee, the Native Bird Liberation Alliance acknowledged that the
arguments had been taken from information supplied by TRAFFIC Inc.
 See also Evidence, p. RRA&T 540.
 See also Evidence, p. RRA&T 717.
 Submission No. 57, Evidence, p. RRA&T 713ff.
 Submission No. 181, p. 4; However, on this matter the AFA wrote: 'There are two recent court
cases in NSW:
(NSW NP&WS vs Neville Connors (Grafton); and NSW NP&WS vs William Connor (Hunter
Valley)). In the first instance it would appear that there were significant flaws in the taking of evidence
and the expert witness used by the prosecution was totally discredited the case was dismissed. The
second case continues but there appear to be similarities in the ability of New South Wales NP&WS to
take evidence correctly.' (Submission No. 341, p. 2).
 Submission No. 181, p. 4.
 Submission No. 181, p. 4.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 1202; evidence of this was also given by Mr Frank Dal Piva of DENR who
stated in evidence that some 50 new species of birds have appeared in Australia over the last seven
years (Evidence, p. RRA&T 546).
 Submission No. 181, p. 4.
 Submission No. 308, p. 12.
 See also Evidence, p. RRA&T 1210 and Submission No. 301, attachment South Australian
Ornithological Association Newsletter June 1984.
 See also Submission No.s 57, 181 (p. 2), Evidence, p. RRA&T 1201.
 The NBLA quoted in oral evidence to the Committee that in 1989 in England, mortality of trapped
wild birds in transit and quarantine was between 15 and 100% (Evidence, p. RRA&T 715).
 See also Supplementary Submission No. 308 for a lengthy discussion of the statistics on bird
mortality in transit.
 Submission No. 195, pp. 7-8.
 Submission No. 195, p. 10.
 See also Submission No. 301, attachment South Australian Ornithological Association Newsletter
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 195, p. 10.
 Evidence, p. RRA&T 195, p. 19-21.
 Information taken from a brochure supplied by Gene Science, E-mail:
 The Model Aviculture Program (MAP) 1 August 1996, Laurella Desborough, Model Aviculture
Program, PO Box 1657 Martinez CA 94553, USA.