The underworld of illegal animal trading is thriving in parts of Asia. Custom officers in Surabaya, Indonesia were shocked to discover yellow-crested cockatoos stuffed in plastic water bottles. The 24 terrified birds were destined to be sold in the black market for about $900 each. The cockatoos were crammed so tight in the bottles that they were unable to move. What is alarming aside from the cruel act is that the yellow-crested cockatoos is listed as a critically endangered species. It is native in East Timor and the islands of Sulawesi and Lesser Sundas in Indonesia. Poaching and deforestation is the contributing factor for the less than 7,000 yellow-crested cockatoos remaining in the world. It is unclear how the smugglers stuffed the animals into the bottles but officers quickly cut them free and sent them for medical attention.The criminals did not care about the well-being of the birds.
Custom officers know all the methods criminals use to transit animals in and out of the country. Nonetheless, birds being stuffed in plastic water bottles was a shocking and cruel way they were not aware of.
Each yellow-crested cockatoo can be sold for $900 each. The very fact that they are considered “critically endangered” makes them that much more alluring for people to own.
Every year animals of every species are captured and sold around the world. This 22 billion dollar per year industry sells the animals for many uses such as; pets, medicine, food, and leather.
Poachers’ criminal activities affect the ecosystem of the local area they work in. In Indonesia, poachers are directly responsible for putting 13 birds species at risk of becoming extinct.
Illegal animal trade is as large and lucrative as human trafficking and the drug trade.
Criminals understand many species are on the decline, on the brink of extinction. To continue their business, they are breeding the birds of high demand. The conditions, however, are just as dire and cruel.
Illegal animal trade is such a common occurrence that many poachers will take the animals in broad daylight.
It is estimated that more than 10,000 wild parrots are trapped every year to be sold. Sadly, approximately 40% of these vulnerable creatures die during transportation due to the horrific conditions they are put through.
Officials say all of the birds were alive when they saved them, although may were very weak.
Interpol has found trading routes in every part of the world. However, Southeast Asia is the most problematic area.
It’s been almost a decade since the yellow-crested cockatoos were declared critically endangered but there has been no real changes or measures to help these birds.
The birds are caged and stuffed in cramped quarters, often stacked on top of each other. The conditions are unsanitary, leading many animals to become sick and dying within 24 hours of being transported. Dying from shock is also a high occurrence.
The yellow-crested cockatoo has a diet of local fruits, buds, nuts, and other plants. Many times these animals refuse to eat or even drink water from the stress, shock, and change of diets.
Knowing what species are not allowed to be sold is the first step. Furthermore, if you know anyone who may own illegal animals, contact your local authorities.