In April 2020, the Smithsonian Magazine published the article “Heavily Trafficked Songbirds Have a Path Back to Resiliency” authored by Joshua Rapp Learn. The Red Siskin Initiative wants to emphasize that the Red Siskin is a success story in the making. Wildlife trafficking is a pernicious threat to many species across the globe. We are taking a multipronged approach based on strong stakeholder engagement to understand and reduce the threat, protect habitats and breed birds for reintroduction. We are simultaneously recovering this beloved species while also its cultural value and the lessons learned help us to promote the conservation of habitats and ecosystems where today live many threatened and endemic species.
“Researchers are working on learning more about trafficking rings in an effort to potentially recruit some of the breeders and other players to help with siskin conservation. Meanwhile, working with Provita, a conservation partner in Venezuela, plans are underway to reintroduce the birds to parts of their former range in Venezuela to bolster the fast-dwindling wild population.”
This is a great opportunity for the Red Siskin Initiative, Iniciativa Cardenalito to spread the word about the species’ conservation and communicate the interesting findings of the research about the unsustainable extraction of wild red siskins. This research also brings important attention to trafficking as the entire world suffers through a global pandemic linked to the illicit trade of wildlife as the source of zoonotic disease.
We would like to thank Michael Braun, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Warren Lynch, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Brian Coyle, Smithsonian Conservation Commons, Kate Rodríguez-Clark, Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park and Conservation Biology Institute, and Ada Sánchez-Mercado and Arlene Cardozo from Provita NGO for their collaboration in the article.
If you wish to learn more about this project, click here to read the article “Social network analysis reveals specialized trade in an Endangered songbird” (2019), published in Animal Conservation.