FLIGHT rescues thousands of smuggled wild birds in undercover operation

28 December 2021

What better way to end the year than with a story of kindness and tenacity in action?

FLIGHT: Protecting Indonesia’s Birds, is a charity partner of Animals Asia whose mission is to protect and save Indonesia’s native wild birds, tens of thousands of which are smuggled illegally every year.

Their focus is on investigating and reporting poachers, documenting illegal traders in markets, and assisting law enforcement to stop birds being smuggled out of the forest. 

Their results are outstanding, having rescued and released over 130,000 birds back into the wild in their first three years of operating. And they show no signs of slowing down in their quest to save Indonesia’s wild bird populations.

In the last few weeks FLIGHT performed two undercover operations that resulted in the seizure of over 2,700 birds. The birds had been stolen from the wild and were being trafficked to be sold on the black market in Java.

In the first raid, the team had been monitoring a warehouse in Jambi where they believed traffickers were working. In a smooth operation that saw part of the team watching the smugglers, others monitoring the roads in and out of the area and another communicating with local police, the getaway car was intercepted at 2am local time, and over 1,700 birds who had been crammed into tiny cages, were rescued.

A week later, the team were once again monitoring the roads which they believed an illegal wildlife trafficker was using to transport smuggled birds in Riau. As they patiently sat and waited, the team suddenly saw the smuggler speed past them, carrying the birds. The team immediately took chase and contacted the local police who intercepted the smuggler. The team recovered over a thousand birds.

All the birds the FLIGHT team and local police departments rescued were released back into the forests from which they’d been taken.

Dave Neale, Animals Asia’s Captive Animal Welfare Director said:

“This year has seen animal rescue charities and authorities across Asia working closer together to clamp down on illegal wildlife trafficking than ever before. These increasingly collaborative, intelligent and seamless operations have resulted in the rescue of thousands of wild animals who would have suffered terribly had they not been saved.”

It is only with the belief and generosity of those who support us that we can hone our expertise and strengthen our working relationships with authorities. And with these collaborative efforts we will continue to rescue as many animals who need us as we possibly can. 

Read more: 

FLIGHT: Meet the people working tirelessly to stop Indonesia’s jungles falling silent

Thousands of protected birds and 12 macaques rescued from Indonesian poachers in undercover operations