As regulators tighten international trade of the White-rumped shama, local hunting and captive breeding continue.
“THIS ONE, nine-inch, a Kuala Lumpur champion for more than 5 times,” says Soo Hoo Kok Weng as he points to a bluish-black bird in a cage. The White-rumped shama is popular in bird-singing competitions and Soo Hoo breeds them for this purpose.
But this bird has not sired any chicks after more than a year of pairing. Soo Hoo reckons its previous owner had been feeding it stimulants to win the highly-competitive bird singing competitions. “Its sperm is spoilt,” he says. “That’s the price it has been made to pay.”
But for the species, the price is far higher than that: extinction.
(Photo: Birdkeepers enter their songbirds into competitions for prizes and prestige. Winning competitions also increases the selling price of the bird | Pic by Lee Kwai Han)