Sorong, W Papua (ANTARA) - A joint team of personnel from the West Papua Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) and Agricultural Quarantine Office foiled an attempt to smuggle 59 endemic birds and reptiles on February 28, 2022.

Those animals that are native to Papua and other Indonesian islands would be smuggled through MV Gunung Dempo which anchored at the port of Sorong City on Feb 28, Head of the BKSDA-West Papua Office Budi Mulyanto said.

Among the protected animals that could have been saved included 15 green tree pythons (Morelia viridis), nine green tree monitors (Varanus prasinus), and 14 monitor lizards (Varanus indicus), he said.

Meanwhile, several endemic birds rescued from the smuggling attempt included a hooded butcherbird (Cracticus cassicus) and a green-naped lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus), he said in a statement that ANTARA quoted here Wednesday.

"All of the protected animals have been secured at the Agricultural Quarantine Office for a medical check-up," he added.

The BKSDA-Papua and West Papua Offices continue to protect the provinces' endemic species from the practices of illegal trade and smuggling.

Related news: Papua's four endemic birds released into natural habitat: BKSDA

On December 18, 2021, for instance, the Papua Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) released four endangered birds into their natural habitat.

The agency had released three lesser birds-of-paradise (Paradisaea minor) and one magnificent riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus) into the Nyei Toro forest of Ravenirara Sub-district in Papua District.

As disclosed by the Environment and Forestry Ministry, several local residents had initiated to hand over the birds to the Jayapura Animal Lovers Community and Rumah Bakau (House of Mangrove).

These two environmental organizations then handed over the endemic birds to the Papua Natural Resources Conservation Agency on October 12, 2021, according to the agency's head, Edward Sembiring.

"We thank all parties for their contribution to the control and surveillance of the illegal trade of Papua's endemic species. Such synergy and collaboration are indeed indispensable," he remarked.

By doing so, the illegal trade of Papua's wildlife could be eradicated in future, he remarked, adding that the four endemic birds were released into their natural habitat after two months.

ANTARA noted that the Indonesian archipelago is blessed with a plethora of flora and fauna, several of which are categorized as "iconic species."

Related news: Central Sulawesi breeds rare, endemic maleo birds to boost population

Translator: Ernes BK, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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