The smuggling of Sumatran wild birds is becoming increasingly prevalent. In 5 days, there were 5 attempts to smuggle Sumatran wild birds which were successfully thwarted by the authorities. More than 6,000 birds have been rescued. Java has been the destination for all these attempts at smuggling Sumatran wild birds.

On November 9, the Forestry Authority (BKSDA), assisted by FLIGHT, managed to stop a car in North Lampung that was carrying more than 1,500 illegal birds from South Sumatra. On the same day, the Police and Lampung Quarantine, also assisted by FLIGHT, succeeded in stopping the smuggling of more than 3,000 birds in Bakauheni Port, Lampung. The next day (On November 10), the Cilegon Quarantine succeeded in preventing the smuggling of more than 1,000 Sumatran wild birds into Java at the Port of Merak, Banten.

These were not the only attempts at wild bird smuggling. On November 13, Police and Lampung Quarantine twice succeeded in stopping the smuggling of more than 600 birds in the Bakauheni Port, Lampung. After going through a health check, all the surviving birds were released the next day.

FLIGHT: Protecting Indonesia’s Birds investigations show that more than 1 million Sumatran wild birds are stolen from the wild every year, to supply Indonesia’s bird markets.

The poaching, smuggling and trading of birds are rife in Indonesia. This is a huge conservation issue. Birds play an important role in the ecosystem. They are efficient seed carriers, which allows plant regeneration. Birds also play a role in maintaining balance. The reduced populations of insectivorous birds will lead to an increase in insect populations which can become pests for farmers.

But there is another important side to this story- that of bird welfare, in its own right. Caged birds have no quality of life. Birds need more than just sustenance. They need to be able to behave as nature intended, to be free to fly in the skies.