The pirogue intercepted by the T&T Coast Guard. (Image: T&T Coast Guard)

Several birds drowned after they were thrown into the sea, when Coast Guard officers intercepted a pirogue off Cedros, this morning.

Three crew members reportedly were detained, while several animals—including monkeys, macaws, bullfinches, and parrots—were rescued.

Guardian Media understands that at about 8:30 this morning, the Coast Guard vessel was on patrol when they spotted the boat in the Gulf of Paria. It is believed that the men were smuggling the animals from Venezuela to sell on the black market.

All the birds and monkeys are protected animals.

Reports are that upon seeing the Coast Guard vessel, the men threw some of the animals into the sea. The Coast Guard managed to save some of them, but several parrots and bullfinches perished.

The men were taken to Cedros Coast Guard base and are expected to be charged by Game Wardens.

Guardian Media will update this story as more information comes to hand.