Blue Bird Of Paradise Print by Eggpicnic
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Wildlife trade is second only to the drug market and has been identified as one of the main factors in the threat status of one in twenty threatened and near-threatened bird species. According to Birdlife international, one third (3,337) of living bird species have been recorded as traded internationally.
A contributing factor placing specific species at risk is the illegal trade of birds for their plumes. In no other region is this more evident than the forests of New Guinea. The Blue Bird of Paradise, according to the IUCN Red List, is listed as vulnerable due to its population decline owing to pressure from hunters for its plumes. The West Papuans by tradition use the feathers in cultural celebrations, however Europe was once the main market, which peaked in the late 19th century, when plumes from over 50.000 birds were exported every year, generally to Paris for use in capes and hats.