Illegal mist-netting of birds

posted in: Illegal-Irresponsible | 3

On 2nd Sep 2006 Tang Hung Bun wrote: “This morning my friends and I were shocked to see a poachers’ net (18m by 3m) in the Kranji ar%a. There were five Baya Weavers (Ploceus philippinus) caught in it. My friends quickly freed the birds, but two of them were already dead. These two were probably trapped in the net for a long time and suffered a slow death. They were juveniles. Before we left, we destroyed the net.”

Ashley Ng added: “These poachers usually set up their mist net early in the morning before sunrise or the day before. They will come back the next few hours or days to check on the netting… Why leave the birds to die? Poachers usually have a list of species they want to catch. Those unwanted species are usually left to die a slow death.

“Which species to catch? Based on habitat, they are probable interested in munias, doves, bulbuls which have better market rates than baya weavers.

“Occasionally, other bigger mammals such as bats and squirrels get trapped on the mist net and eventually die.”

From Penang, Malaysia, Daisy O’Neill has this to say: “…mist netting is the most common method used on the ‘mainland’ across the causeway, especially in more remote areas. I came across another bird trapper doing it in ‘motorbike style’ (above).

“He has a Zebra Dove (now Peaceful Dove, Geopelia striata) in his homemade, creative contraption he is holding. He selects his poled position and waits behind some bushes. At times, he coaxes the dove to ‘coo’ for mates to join her. Doves would land on the old fishing net hung loose in the ‘racket’ loop to catch the landing dove, trapping it when its feet get entangled in the net (below). So simple!

“He was given a friendly advice to be wary of species of birds that are protected, that can land him with a jail term and fine.”

An earlier posting on the poaching of the Straw-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus) can be seen here.

Input by Tang Hung Bun, Ashley Ng and Daisy O’Neill (Avian Writer). Top three images by Tang and bottom three by Daisy.

3 Responses

  1. Kevin

    I have seen fishing nets set in various places in singapore that have the same effect on horseshoe crabs and other fishes not meant for trade (one person i asked said the nets were for tilapia to be sold in local markets) in lieu of protection laws its hard to say who’s right or wrong… but unwarranted killing whether accidental or intentional is definitely wrong. but you can hardly ask net sellers(mist or fish) to give out advisory warnings when selling them.

    i think in places where hunting is livelihood the stakeholders are more concerned about depleting the livestock. in sg where animals are scarce ppl generally never think twice about ravaging the area for their enjoyment and profit.

    I still haven’t thought of what to say to these group of ppl to convince them for the need to preserve. Their fav tagline is the ‘gahmen is worse right? destroy this reclaim that. we only do small small you so busybody for wat?’


  2. YC

    The problem in Singapore is that many do not think twice about catching/killing what are specifically not owned by anyone. Many are not even aware that what they are doing is illegal. We have a long way to go to educate the public about this.

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