Dozens of smuggled parrots filled in plastic bottles have been found on a ship docked in Indonesia’s eastern Papua region.
Police said the crew spotted 64 live parrots and 10 dead birds after hearing noises from inside a large box.
Indonesia is home to the highest number of endangered bird species in Asia and a fierce illegal trade in birds.
Birds are sold domestically in giant bird markets or smuggled abroad.
The destination of the parrots found Thursday morning in the port city of Fakfak was unclear, local police spokesman Dodik Junaidi told the AFP news agency.
“The ship’s crew told us they suspected there were animals inside the box when they heard strange noises,” he said Friday.
No arrests have been made yet.
The seized birds were identified as black-capped lorries, a type of parrot native to New Guinea and nearby islands in the southwest Pacific.
It is a protected species in Indonesia that is illegally in demand to supply pet trade, said Elizabeth John of the wildlife trade Traffic.
“Indonesia may lead the charge of wiretapping birds in the region, but what is needed are more arrests and a real breakdown of players from source to market,” she told the BBC.
This is not the first time birds have been discovered hidden inside plastic bottles. In 2015, Indonesian police arrested a man who tried to smuggle 21 yellow-crested cockatoos, an endangered bird, into bottles.
In 2017, Indonesian authorities found 125 exotic birds forced inside drain pipes following wildlife attacks that led to several arrests.
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