The stunning yellow-crested cockatoo has experienced such a sharp decline in numbers that it is now listed as critically endangered, with an estimated 7,000 or fewer individuals left in the world. Of course, this is thanks to human activities. Deforestation has played a part, but the most significant factor has been the pet trade demand driving saddening acts such as the one in the image above.
Twenty-one of these rare birds were just rescued by police in Indonesia who discovered them stuffed inside plastic bottles, alongside one green parrot, AFP reports. The bottles, which had the bottoms cut off to shove the birds in, were crammed into a suitcase belonging to a 37-year-old man who had been travelling on a passenger boat to the Tanjung Perak port in the city of Surbaya, Java.
The man, whose identity has not been disclosed, was stopped by officials as he alighted the ship and will now face investigation. According to Aldy Sulaiman, head of criminal investigation at the port, the man has admitted to transporting just two of the birds, but has reportedly claimed ignorance over the rest. But if he is found guilty of smuggling, he could face up to 5 years in prison.
The birds are now being held by a conservation office, but they could have ended up on the black market with a price tag of $1,000 (£650), or even being sold through legal routes for a staggering $1,500 (£1,000).