Police Raid Warehouse And Find Cardboard Boxes Full Of Eagles
People were shipping them off to be kept as pets.
The police got to the warehouse just in time. If they’d arrived any later, the animals inside might have never been saved.
Wildlife traffickers in West Kallimantan, Indonesia, had just stolen six animals from their forest homes — a Bornean slow loris, a baby leopard cat, a Javan hawk-eagle, a Wallace’s hawk-eagle, a crested hawk-eagle and a crested hawk-eagle chick. Then the traffickers packed the animals into cardboard boxes, which were taped up and marked for delivery. But last week, Indonesian police broke into the warehouse and caught the traffickers red-handed.
“The suspects at first denied they were illegally selling wildlife but eventually confessed after questioning by the police,” International Animal Rescue (IAR) said in a statement.
The traffickers had been selling the animals as pets via a Facebook group called "Sale and Purchase Animal Auction Pontianak," which had been operating since late 2016, according to IAR. The Facebook group was shut down following the raid.
Unfortunately, help came too late for the little eagle chick — police found him dead when they opened one of the cardboard boxes.
Warning: Disturbing photo below
“It was possibly still too young to survive without its mother,” Lis Key, PR and communications manager for IAR, told The Dodo. “Or it could have simply been from stress or from lack of proper food and care once it had been captured.”
The other animals were extremely stressed as well, and were just barely holding on to life. One of the eagles was injured from having his legs tied together.
“These are sentient creatures who are susceptible to fear and pain,” Key said. “It must have been traumatic for them to be snatched from their natural environment and forced into a completely alien one, shut up in small dark boxes with no light and very little air and surrounded by unfamiliar sounds and smells.”
“I don’t know for sure whether the animals had been given food and water but our experience with confiscations of slow lorises is that the animals’ welfare isn’t generally too high on the dealers’ list of priorities,” she added.
Police also found something a bit strange — 31 feathers from another crested hawk-eagle. When questioned about the feathers, one of the men said they’d killed that eagle.
“One of the perpetrators admitted that the feathers confiscated by officers were from adult eagles shot by hunters so that they could take their chicks,” IAR said in a statement.
Most of the animals are now being cared for at the Natural Resources Conservation (BKSDA) Centre, West Kalimantan, but the slow loris went to the rescue center run by IAR, where carers will help him regain his strength so he can be released back into the wild.
“He stands a good chance of release if his teeth are intact and he hasn’t been kept captive for very long,” Key said. “He is in good hands now and IAR’s veterinary team will be giving him appropriate treatment and care.”