by on 4 January 2019
As Indonesia cracks down on the illegal wildlife trade, it is struggling to deal with the influx of animals confiscated from traffickers.
Birds are among the most trafficked creatures. Due to a lack of rehabilitation centers, where they would slowly be prepared for life in the wild, many birds are released prematurely.
That seems to have been the case with a group of cockatoos that were handed into the state after the infamous “water bottle bust” of 2015, in which a smuggler was caught with 23 yellow-crested cockatoos stuffed into plastic water bottles in his luggage.
JAKARTA — In May 2015, a wildlife smuggler was arrested at an Indonesian port. He had attempted to transport nearly two dozen yellow-crested cockatoos, stuffed in plastic water bottles, aboard a passenger ship.
The rare birds in their tiny confinements looked barely alive; their feathers were dirty and sticky. They were likely on their way to local markets or international trade networks, to be sold as pets.
This particular bust drew a lot of attention because it expressed the cruelty of animal trafficking in one striking image. It gave rise to a that saw dozens of Indonesians turn in their pet cockatoos to the government. Some of the birds had been kept as pets for decades.
In Indonesia, it is illegal to keep, kill or sell a yellow-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea) that has been caught in the wild. And yet, the bird, along with a host of other protected species, is widely trafficked in the country, one of the most biodiverse on Earth.