BIRDS stolen from a wildlife park in western Sydney could find their way to the Netherlands if they are in the hands of organised crime figures.
Breeding pairs of blue and gold macaws and red-tailed black cockatoos, as well as six white-breasted brown doves were stolen from Featherdale Wildlife Park after it closed on December 24.
The macaws were found by police at a home in Auburn five days later but the other eight birds are still missing.
Policing academic Michael Kennedy said there was a strong connection between organised crime syndicates and the exotic animal trade.
"Flora and fauna is a strange area and there's always been a strong connection with organised crime, particularly parrots," the University of Western Sydney lecturer said.
"There is other stuff as well, like the big snakes, crocs and big lizards but when you look at the array of pythons around there is better access to them through Asia than Australia.
"Black cockatoos, palm cockatoos and even the regular ones seem to be the most popular targets in Australia.
"I don't think the bikies actually get involved in the theft of animals but they would always know what was happening in the market.
"My understanding of it is they get smuggled out and end up in the Netherlands, which seems to be the distribution point for illegal flora and fauna."
Featherdale Wildlife Park's marketing manager Kellie Ames remained optimistic the missing birds would turn up.
"We're always hopeful, but we may look at replacing them if they're not recovered," she said.
Bird aviaries at Central Gardens in Merrylands have also been broken into in the past, with thousands of dollars in birds stolen or escaped.
In June last year police seized an illegal snake among other items when they raided the homes of alleged Rebels gang members in Willmot, Londonderry, Lethbridge Park, St Marys and Richmond.