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Parrot poaching and the subsequent illegal trade in the Neotropics are exacerbating the decline in parrot populations. Little is known, however, on where, when and how parrots are poached. The goals of this study were to identify the spatio-temporal patterns of parrot poaching in order to identify ways in which poaching could be reduced, using parrot data (9,013 individuals from 27 species) collected daily in a major illicit wildlife market in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, in 2005. Parrot data identified the individuals by species, age, date of arrival at market, and the poaching location. Parrot poaching strongly varied seasonally, with differences among municipalities, species, and age classes. While almost 90% of parrots were poached within a 234 km radius of the market, 84% originated from seven municipalities in which two of them accounted for 56% alone. With regard to species, six of the 27 market species accounted for nearly 90% of total individuals. A disproportionate share of parrots (47%) arrived between July and September. Poaching of adults and juveniles peaked however at different times of the year, offering valuable information for species where very little is known about their breeding phenology. Contrary to the idea that most parrot trade comes from nest poaching, most poached parrots (c.70%) were adults, which outnumbered juveniles in 21 out of the 26 native species. Therefore, the detrimental effects of parrot poaching are higher than simple trade numbers would suggest when considering that harvesting of adults has a stronger impact on the population viability and risk of extinction of long-lived species. Based on the findings, we recommend the allocation of police and conservation resources to patrol particular areas at particular times of the year in order to reduce the likelihood of poaching by species, age classes, and conservation status.
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