Photo: Monirul Alam.

More than a thousand rare birds have been intercepted by customs officers at Bangladesh’s Hazrat Shahjalal International airport in Dhaka after a trafficker attempted to smuggle them into Pakistan.

Police arrested Ahmmed Shaikh Wahid on July 3 as he was boarding a plane to Pakistan. According to customs authorities, he had used a fake veterinary certificate to register four cages full of rare birds in the luggage compartment, including endangered species like Blossom-headed parakeets and Scaly-breasted Munias. Wahid apparently bought the birds from a Pakistani poacher in Dhaka.

Capturing rare and endangered birds is illegal in Bangladesh under a 1974 nature preservation law.

"Most of the birds were dead when the cages were seized by customs officers"

Monirul Allam is a freelance photographer in Dhaka. His blog can be found at MoniruDiary.

I went to the airport as soon as I heard that a bird smuggler was arrested. I’m a nature-lover, so I was very upset to see the birds dying under my very eyes in an airport waiting room. Most were rare, exotic species from Bangladesh and neighbouring countries.

The birds didn’t survive because the trafficker didn’t give them enough food or care. There were people in the airport begging the customs officers to free the birds rather than let them starve to death right there. It was heartbreaking.

Most of the birds were already dead when the cages were seized. The surviving birds were brought to Bangabandhu natural park in the south of the country and released. "

Photo: Monirul Alam 

Photo: Monirul Alam 

Photo: Monirul Alam 

Photo: Monirul Alam

A Blossom-headed parakeet and two parrots. Photo posted on Flickr by Timtom.ch.

A Gracula. Photo posted on Flickr by Pacificklaus .

A spotted Munia. Photo posted on Flickr by lipkee.