Indonesians protest the illegal wildlife trade.
Image: ProFauna Indonesia.
You know that I am passionate about the parrots of the south Pacific Ocean — I devoted my life to researching them, in fact. So it is my responsibility to bring a very important and tragic issue to your attention. Indonesia, home to many of the birds that I love so much, is killing its endemic parrots through poaching and smuggling.
There are 85 parrot species in Indonesia, 14 of which are globally threatened or endangered. One of the regions with many smuggled parrot species is known as Wallacea — made famous by Alfred Russel Wallace of evolutionary theory fame — an island group that includes Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, and the Maluku Islands. These islands are home to some of my research birds; the endangered red-and-blue lories, Eos histrio, and black-winged lories, Eos cyanogenia, as well as the yellow-crested cockatoo, Cacatua sulphurea, and the blue-naped parrot, Tanygnathus lucioinensis.
Poaching also occurs on the Indonesian island of Halmahera, which is home to the threatened chattering lories, Lorius garrulous, and the violet-necked lories, Eos squamata, along with the white Cockatoos, Cacatua alba, Eclectus parrots Eclectus roratus. The Eclectus parrot is a protected species which is prohibited for trade. According to the 2008 study, Pirated Parrots [free PDF], 10,000 parrots are annually captured on Halmahera alone.
These wild birds are trapped and transported to open air bird markets in Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines where the survivors are sold as pets. (40% of all trapped parrots die before reaching the markets).
For example, according to ProFauna Indonesia, an illegal wildlife dealer named Mei Lumombo operates from Halmahera Island, which is north of Maluku. The captured parrots are crammed into small cages and carried across land to the coast where Mei Lumombo then smuggles them to Balut Island or to General Santos in the Philippines, using a private boat. The sea journey to the Philippines occurs once every two weeks and takes at least nine hours.
The hapless parrots are sold to unscrupulous Philippine dealers who meet the Indonesian smugglers’ boats while they are still offshore. The surviving birds are then brought to General Santos, and the birds are sent to Cartimar market in Manila, which is the capital of the Philippines.
What can you do to stop this illegal activity? Call, write and email your letters of protest to;
Republik Indonesia Gedung Manggala Wanabhakti Blok I, lantai 4 Jl.
Gatot Subroto, Jakarta Pusat 10270
Jendral Polisi Soetanto
Republik Indonesia MABES POLRI Jl.
Trunojoyo No. 3 Kebayoran Baru Jakarta Selatan
Phone 021-7390306, 3848537
And carbon copy your letters and other communications to;
Campaign Officer ProFauna Indonesia
ProFauna Headquaters Jl
Raya Candi II no 179 Klaseman, Malang-Indonesia
Include these points in your communications;
- Demand that the Republic of Indonesia government stops parrot smuggling to the Philippines by confiscating the birds from the North Halmahera dealers.
- Demand that the Republic of Indonesia government improve the patrol of marine boundaries between Indonesia and the Philippines especially along the sea route used for wildlife smuggling from Indonesia to the Philippines.
- Urge the Forestry Ministry of Republic of Indonesia to control, investigate, and seize protected wildlife, especially parrots, from traders in the animal markets in Surabaya and Pramuka market in Jakarta.
- Recommend that the Forestry Minister raise the protection status of the White Cockatoo, Cacatua alba. Astonishingly, the white cockatoo is not protected!
Can’t speak Indonesian? They have translators available! So be polite, but do it now.
Pirated Parrots ProFauna, 2008 (free PDF; 9 pages).
Flying Without Wings (fund raising for ProFauna Indonesia).