Uznews.net – According to estimates, up to 70% of parrots sold in Moscow are bred in Uzbekistan. The country also exports endangered birds, like falcons, and this trade is on the rise.
Tashkent’s main market for trade in birds is the Besh-Agach market, where buyers can find fighting cocks, quails, siskins, canaries, nightingales, parrots and other birds.
The highest demand is for talking parrots, which can be bred relatively easily in captivity.
“Our family has always bred birds, and I am a third-generation amateur bird breeder,” Yelena who sells talking parrots said. She noted that she did not need to pay taxes because breeding birds is regarded the same as running household plots in Uzbekistan.
She said she sold bigger talking parrots for 20,000 to 30,000 sums ($9 to $14) per bird and smaller ones for 5,000 sums ($2.2) to 10,000 sums ($4.5).
Breeders, like Yelena, do not export birds to foreign countries. Middlemen, like a young man called Arkadiy, do this for them. He said that he paid a fixed tax of 170,000 sums ($77) per month to sell birds to his partners in Russia. In addition, he said, he paid 400 sums per bird to the customs veterinary services.
He sells 800 birds at once and paid about one minimum monthly salary for this consignment to the state biological control department.
“However, you can export birds only if you have a contract with a buyer in Russia,” Arkadiy
|Trade in birds is flourishing in Tashkent|
He said that middlemen paid $2 for each talking parrot in Uzbekistan and sold them $5 for each bird to Russian wholesale buyers, who sold them for $10-12 per bird in Moscow, where about 10,000 parrots are sold every week – 70% of them come from Uzbekistan.
The middleman said that he did not sell birds to Western countries, because traders there wanted to deal with legal entities rather than individuals. A firm trading in birds should have a charter capital of 120 million sums, which Arkadiy cannot afford. Moreover, he said, the law requires businessmen pay 50% of their income in hard currency to the government at the official rate which makes the business less profitable, because of the discrepancy between the official and black market exchange rates.
Many Westerners buy wild birds caught in Uzbekistan because this activity is banned in their countries.
Uzbekistan’s laws regarding wild birds are laxer, breeders said. “In our country the market of rare birds is thriving and they are usually taken abroad,” Alisher Maksudov, chairman of an Uzbek society of singing birds, said.
He said saker falcons, peregrines and barbary falcons were very popular in Arab countries, where
|Uzbekistan's talking parrots account for 70% of Moscow's market|
they may sell for tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on size, colour and health conditions, whereas they cost only from $1,000 to $3,000 on the black market in Uzbekistan.
There are different ways of smuggling rare birds from Uzbekistan, Maksudov said. For example, when wealthy Arabs come to Uzbekistan for hunting they bring their ailing and old falcons and release them there, replacing them with young and healthy ones to take them back home.
He also said that smugglers often paid $150 per bird to Uzbek border guards and customs officers for trouble-free customs clearance.
In order to solve this problem, Maksudov believes, Uzbekistan has to legalise the catching of wild birds by individuals. This will regulate the trade and preserve the population.
Unfortunately, the government is not doing anything about this, while the society of singing birds stopped working five years due to financial problems.