The seizure of over 8,000 birds in three incidents over a 10-day period highlights the large-scale extraction of birds from the wilds of Sumatra in order to feed Indonesia's chronic and unsustainable demand for caged birds.
All the birds confiscated by Indonesia's Agricultural Quarantine Agency had originated from Sumatra and were destined for sale in Java, which is home to the largest bird markets in South-East Asia and supports a thriving illegal trade in wild-caught songbirds.
On 27 November, Cilegon quarantine officers working with Indonesian NGO, FLIGHT, seized 2,140 birds found on a truck at Merak port on the north-west tip of Java.
Just 10 days prior, the same quarantine office confiscated 4,851 birds packed into boxes from a truck in Kota Serang, the westernmost province on Java. The consignment originated in Lampung, a province in the southernmost tip of Sumatra, and was headed for several locations in Java.
In operations from 21-23 November, Bandar Lampung quarantine officers seized a further 1,536 birds, which had been stuffed into dozens of plastic crates in the luggage compartment of a bus at Bakauheni Port in southern Sumatra.