Police saved more than 21 endangered birds that were found stuffed in water bottles so they could be smuggled through customs at Port of Tanjung Perak in Surabaya, Indonesia.
"We arrested a man who brought two different species of birds — one yellow-crested cockatoo and the other a green parrot, and after that we searched around the Tidar ship to check for any other suspicious goods. We found on the third deck of the ship two big plastic bags consisting of 21 yellow-crested cockatoos which are included in the critically endangered list," Tanjung Perak Port's police officer Aldy Sulaiman said.
Critically endangered yellow-crested cockatoos can sell through legal channels for as much as $1,500. The bird’s numbers are dropping due to habitat destruction and because they’re taken to be sold as pets. Studies suggest fewer than 7,000 of these birds remain in the wild.
Every year, thousands of birds are caught in the wild and transported locally and internationally to supply the illegal wildlife trade. Roughly 40 percent of those poached birds die in transit.
It is unclear how many green parrots the customs officers seized.