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Image: Jefta Images/Barcroft Media

Last year, a smuggler attempted to illegally traffic one green parrot and dozens of critically endangered cockatoos through Indonesia by stuffing them into plastic bottles. We wish we were making this up.

In May of 2015, police noticed a passenger disembarking a boat with what looked like birds trapped in jerry cans. Upon further investigation, they found 21 more birds stuffed into tiny plastic water bottles.

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A spokesperson for the Indonesian Police said, “The birds were still alive but some were already very weak.”

Customs officials immediately removed the birds from their plastic prisons, but seven of them were too compromised to survive.

Apparently this is not the first such attempt, and this method is a commonly used strategy for smuggling these beautiful and endangered birds.

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Yellow-crested cockatoo populations are plummeting due to illegal and unsustainable trapping for the cage-bird trade. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species estimates that there could be as few as 1,500 individuals left on the planet.

Wild animals belong in the wild. Educate yourself on the issues, and share your knowledge with your friends! If enough of us care, we can put an end to wildlife trafficking. Visit World Wildlife Fund to learn more and to support their efforts to end such trades.