The Law Safeguards and Enforcement Agency, on behalf of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, confiscated eight nationally protected birds kept as pets in Medan, North Sumatra.
The birds were found during an operation conducted by the agency’s task team over 9 to 12 May in Medan.
The eight confiscated birds includes nuri bayan hijau, elang laut dada putih, elang hitam, elang bondol and elang brontok. These birds are mostly found in coastal areas.
“Eight birds we confiscated are on the list of protected animals and so they can’t be kept by civilians,” said Halasan Tulus, Head of Law Safeguards and Enforcement Agency in Sumatra.
Tulus and his team were tipped off by community reports and the birds were handed over easily to authorities, he said.
“The owners were cooperative in handing over their bird. They got the birds either as gifts or bought from a seller. Some were new, while others a been kept for up to seven years,” he added.
The birds were taken to the Indonesia Forest Rangers Rapid Response Unit offices for further examination where it will be decided if they undergo rehabilitation or are released into natural habitat.
“If it is possible, we would like to put them into the Taman Nasional Gunung Leuser. But considering that some of them have been kept as pets for a considerable time we will probably run a rehabilitation. As for others kept for a short period of time, we will just put them straight into the conservation area,” Tulus said.
Tulus hopes the operation will raise awareness of protected animals being kept as pets, particularly eagles, falcons and hawks.
“They are vital to the ecosystem because they have the top position in the food chain as the number one predators. It would be bad to fulfill our personal interest while it could lead to an imbalanced ecosystem. We hope this will never happen again,” Tulus said.
While the owners of these exotic birds did not know their pets were nationally protected species, authorities will investigate if the animals are linked to illegal animal trade syndicates. Charges will be laid accordingly.
Protected animals are sold in wildlife markets and through brokers, with many buyers unaware of the legal complications. Potential buyers are advised to obtain complete legal documentation for any pet purchases, such as a certificate or license. Owners can face jail time for keeping protected animals.
Image credits: The Guardian