(New York - December 22, 2016) North Maluku Nature Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA), Indonesian Cockatoo Conservation (KKI) and WCS-IP (Wildlife Conservation Society-Indonesia Program) released 117 confiscated birds in North Maluku, Indonesia on Thursday, December 15, 2016. Released birds included 49 chattering lorries, 40 white cockatoos and 28 eclectus parrots.

The species are listed on the IUCN Red List: white cockatoos are categorized as Endangered, the chattering lorry as Vulnerable and the eclectus parrot is considered Least Concern.

Most of the birds released were confiscated by the North Maluku Police on July 30, 2016 at the Ahmad Yani Port. Others were handed over to authorities by people in the surrounding community.

The three species are protected internationally through CITES Appendix II, and can be traded internationally, but only through a permitting process based on sound science. Following a lengthy court process, the suspected smuggler of the birds was sentenced to four months in prison and fined 1 million Rupiah.

The birds were released at separate places within the North Maluku region, according to their natural habitat, as part of an effort to restore depleted populations.

Bird keeping has long been part of Indonesia's culture, and looking at the market demand for pets, these species are highly threatened by poaching and uncontrolled trade, ultimately leading to population declines.

The birds are being monitored in the wild to observe the success of the reintroduction effort.

 For more information on this story, please call Tisna Nando in Indonesia at 62 811 680 8197, or Scott Smith in the U.S. at 718-220-3698.

Note: A press release was issued by WCS-Indonesia Program on this story on December 15th.