EXPOSED: PROTECTED INDONESIAN WILD SPECIES SMUGGLED IN DOG CRATES
ProFauna Indonesia uncovered the criminality and the cruelty of wildlife trade.
[ClickPress, Sun Jan 15 2006] The smuggling of endangered wildlife is flourishing in Indonesia. ProFauna Indonesia, a wildlife conservation society, urges all governments to tighten the checking at their entry ports of all crates containing animals imported from overseas, as these may conceal species other than those legally imported. Smugglers of exotic and protected species use dogs, cats, reptiles or monkeys to conceal other animals secreted in hidden compartment of their cages.
During a recent investigation, ProFauna exposed that many endangered species are still being smuggled out of Indonesia. The most popular species are exotic native parrots such as the Papuan black capped lorys (Lorius lorry), yellow (Cacatua galerita) or sulphur crested (Cacatua sulphurea) cockatoos and various species of eclectus. Many are protected and listed in Appendix 1 of CITES.
Despite the current ban on importation of birds, demands from international enthusiasts for illegal exotic birds or wild specimens continue. Many Indonesian wild animals are facing extinction. The primary cause is habitat loss due to deforestation for global hardwood demands, land clearing for agro business and mining, but hundreds of thousands animals are also trapped each year to supply illegal exotic pet markets or for human consumptions.
ProFauna’s investigators uncovered the criminality and the cruelty of the trade. Traders from Pramuka bird market in Jakarta construct special secret bottom compartments in each animal crate to smuggle protected exotic birds. To the untrained eye, the crate seemingly only contains imported dogs, reptiles or monkeys, but under the false flooring, live exotic birds are well hidden.
Up to 25 black headed Papuan lorys or cockatoos can be jammed together and smuggled in a hidden bottom drawer containing one doberman. Birds are confined in this tight space and their beaks are taped shut to prevent them from making any sound; they are deprived of water and food during their long journey. “It is an outrage to see how cruel the trade is and how much the animals suffer!,” said one investigator. “It’s no surprise to see that 40% die before reaching the markets”.
In the recent shipments, smugglers use monkeys as camouflage to smuggle lorys (parrots) to Germany and to Korea they use dogs to disguise the birds. It is understood that some Indonesian customs and airport authorities at Sukarno-Hatta airport were bribed by the traders to allow the cargo be loaded up onto the aircrafts. Some airport authorities at the receiving countries may “cooperate” with the local importers.
To avoid detection dealers at Pramuka bird market keep endangered and rare species at various locations, from orang utans to Papuan birds of paradise. A pair of live male and female Cendrawasih, Papuan bird of paradise (paradisaea minor) and a pair of Wilson’s bird of paradise (Cicinnurus respublica) were shown to the investigators, who posed as serious overseas buyers.
All animals are caught from wild. Illegal wildlife traders use new documents changing the origin of these birds as allegedly captive born and bred in their own countries. There is no way to prove if such animals are captive bred or caught in the wild.
Indonesia is one of the world richest countries in biodiversity but also has the longest list of threatened species, including lorys, cockatoos, eclectus, orangutans, Sumatran tigers, sun bears, all of which are highly sought after by international illegal collectors.
ProFauna launched a national campaign in Sep 2005 demanding that the Indonesian government take action to enforce the law to stop this crime. To support ProFauna Indonesia's wildlife conservation program, visit www.profauna-uk.org.