Wildlife Trafficker Tries To Smuggle 24 Endangered Cockatoos In Plastic Bottles, Gets Caught

05/07/2015 09:31 am ET | Updated May 07, 2015

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.

Warning: Some readers may find the below photos to be disturbing.

  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Cacatua sulphurea that were successfully secured from illegal wildlife trading are seen in empty bottles in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia on Monday. A total of 24 birds were rescued when they were illegally traded in the port of Tanjung Perak Surabaya, Java Timur, Indonesia.
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • STR via Getty Images
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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