Will the EU ban on bird imports mean the demise of bird populations in EAZA collections?



It is felt, among zoo bird curators, that the European Union (EU) Regulation banning bird imports may have a hugely detrimental effect on European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) bird populations. This paper discusses the possible effects of the legislation despite a derogation that allows some birds to be brought into the EU for zoos. The ban would only affect EAZA populations if reliant on large-scale commercial importers either directly or indirectly through affecting private collections or non-EAZA zoos. Data from the International Species Information System (ISIS) and EAZA Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) surveys were used to determine the sustainability and the main source of recruitment for these populations. The feeling that the ban will cause the demise of EAZA bird populations is not upheld by the data used, with the exception of white-eyes (Zosteropidae). However, this conclusion must be taken in context of the data available. The reality of commercial importers in underpinning EAZA populations through intermediates is possibly being masked by the way data have been entered by ISIS-member zoos. A positive outcome of discussions within EAZA Bird TAGs was to identify several other issues that need to be addressed which may be hindering population survival in EAZA collections.