In an horrific case of animal cruelty, nearly two-dozen birds have been rescued after being smuggled into Indonesia, concealed in water bottles.
Officials have arrested a 37-year-old man who was stopped by police on Monday, coming off a passenger ship from the main island of Java.
The suspected wildlife trafficker was found with 21 yellow-crested cockatoos and one green parrot.
All the birds were found crammed into water bottles, which had the bottoms removed, to squeeze the birds inside.
Aldy Sulaiman, head of the criminal investigation unit at Tanjung Perak port, said that the man had admitted to carrying two birds for a friend, but claimed to know nothing about the other animals.
If found to be guilty of trafficking and animal endangerment, the man will face up to five years in prison.
The yellow-crested cockatoos are native to Indonesia and neighbouring East-Timor and, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, are considered critically endangered.
Richard Thomas, global communications coordinator for Traffic International, which monitors wildlife trade said that one of the biggest reasons for trafficking, is personal collection.
“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.”
The Cockatoo – which has largely disappeared from mainland Indonesia, is different to the sulphur-crested cockatoos most commonly found in Australian and New Guinea.
The rescued birds have been sent to Indonesia’s natural resources conservation office, which deals with wildlife-trafficking cases.