Indonesian wildlife officers have recovered more than 20 yellow crested cockatoos from a wildlife trafficker who attempted to smuggle the birds by shoving them into empty water bottles.
Officers caught onto the birds, a critically endangered species native to Indonesia and East Timor, after spotting the 37-year-old suspect leave a boat in a port in Surabaya, Indonesia, with two hidden in jerry cans, reports CNN.
The stolen goods also included a green parrot, Reuters reports.
"The birds were still alive then but some were already very weak," said Lily Djafar, a Tanjung Perak police spokeswoman, to CNN. Seven of the birds later died, the station reports.
Though the birds themselves are exotic, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network says this inhumane method of smuggling isn't all that uncommon. According to the organization's Facebook page, exotic birds destined for the illegal pet market are often subject to this treatment.
The once-common bird suffered a steep population decline by the 1980s due to overexploitation for the pet trade and habitat loss, reports Wildscreen Arkive, a digital conservation group.
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