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Indonesian police find endangered cockatoos smuggled in water bottles

Indonesian police find endangered cockatoos smuggled in water bottles

In this photograph taken on May 4, 2015 shows rare Indonesian yellow-crested cockatoos placed inside water bottles confiscated from alleged wildlife smuggler. Stringer (AFP)/Getty Images

Stringer (AFP)/Getty Images

Indonesian police stopped a man allegedly smuggling almost two dozen endangered birds that were crammed into plastic water bottles.

Authorities made the discovery on Monday when they stopped a 37-year-old man at the Tanjung Perak port in the city of Surabya, on the Indonesia’s main island of Java, while carrying out an anti-smuggling operation, CNN reported.

Police found 21 endangered yellow-crested cockatoos (or Cacatua sulpherea) packed into the 1,500 millilitre water bottles. The bottles were cut off and the birds stuffed inside. The man was also carrying a green parrot, according to police.

“All the birds were found inside water bottles, which were packed in a crate,” Aldy Sulaiman, the head of Tanjung Perak port’s criminal investigation unit, told the Agence France-Presse.

While the birds were still alive when police first made the discovery, seven died after authorities handed them over to Indonesia’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency, CNN reported.

A 37-year-old man was arrested after he alighted a passenger ship in Tanjung Perak port in Surabaya, in eastern Java island. Police found 21 yellow-crested cockatoos and one green parrot.

The yellow-crested cockatoo is considered critically endangered and it’s listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of threatened species.

“It has undergone a dramatic decline, which is still ongoing, particularly in the last quarter of the 20th century, such that it is now extinct on many islands and close to extinction on most others,” IUCN explained on its website.

IUCN blamed the decline of the yellow-crested cockatoo population on “unsustainable exploitation for internal and international trade”

According to CNN, the man arrived in Surabaya from the city Makassar, on the island of Sulawesi. He reportedly admitted carrying two birds but denied having anything to do with the other birds.

“[It] shows the lengths that some people will go to try to smuggle birds,” Richard Thomas, of the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC, told CNN.

“Most of those birds are destined to be trafficked to parrot collectors and breeders, rather than the meat market. There’s a lot of demand for parrots and cockatoos in southeast Asia and Europe,” he said.

If the suspect is found guilty of smuggling, he could face five years behind bars, AFP reported.

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