Finches are very small birds, and the Red Siskin is likewise very small. A native to Venezuela, it is all but lost except in seven states according to IUCN, and is classed as endangered. Why would a tiny finch be endangered in a country so large as Venezuela though?
The answer lies in the market for caged birds. Apparently these brightly coloured red birds are a favourite and trappers go to great lengths to capture and smuggle/sell these birds abroad. If mated with a canary, a female siskin produces highly sought after varied red canaries.
Mongabay website with their article headline, “Trafficked tropical animals: the ghost exports of Venezuela“, talks about how patrolling the 2800 km coastline and 5000 km borders is difficult for any law enforcement and estimated that Venezuela is losing at least 900 000 animals every year.
The Dodo explains its decline for reasons of “human greed” for that is what it is . There is a market that needs to be satisfied and people want something that is rare and will provide a profit. The cost of being caught with a Red Siskin in Mexico is up to 10 years in prison. Insightcrime.org explain “How the Trafficking Networks Operate” by using people who are desperate to earn a living to catch the animals and then paying very little for them, many of whom aren’t even aware that what they doing could land them in prison.
Looking after our world is a tricky balance between our wants and desires and the need to protect our wildlife and each other. We must surely be using education to combat these practices and help those who are desperate. The question remains, is it the trapper who is wrong to trap the birds or the individuals in far away lands who demand and pay for the illegal export of them?