Nine birds of prey, including a great horned owl and a spotted eagle-owl, were seized near Ghent after authorities tracked down a man found to illegally possess dozens of birds.
Although authorities believed a total of fifteen birds were being held by the same man at different locations, six of them, including a green-winged macaw, had disappeared before authorities located them.
Nine birds in total were seized, including a great horned owl, a Eurasian eagle owl, a spotted eagle-owl, two mountain cacara and four red kites.
The collection followed a months-long operation led by the Federal Public Service of Health (FPS Santé) in which different individuals were found to possess at least 50 birds of prey without having the necessary permits, according to VTR.
While most of the birds seized were not naturally found in Belgium, some can be kept in the country if they are born in captivity and have the correct documentation.
The birds were transferred to an animal rehabilitation centre in Opglabbeek, Limburg and the man in question faces a fine and was referred to Ghent's public prosecutor, who will decide whether or not to prosecute him.
The Brussels Times