Wednesday, July 20, 2011


          Jakarta, July 20, 2011 (ANTARA) - Indonesia is known as a "bird paradise" as the country has a total of 1,594 bird species including 381 endemic birds species, of the world's total 10,000 bird species.
         The country is the world's fifth richest country in terms of fowl possession, according to Ria Saryanthi, conservation program manager of Burung Indonesia (BirdLife Indonesia), early this year.    
       Burung Indonesia is a non-governmental organization (NGO) engaged in wild bird preservation in Indonesia and has forged partnership with the UK-based Birdlife International.

          Bird Conservation officer Dwi Mulyawati said in Bogor, West Java, last June that Indonesia is the world's third largest tropical forests, therefore it has become the center of the world's bio-diversity from eco-system, flora and fauna species to bird species.
          On Java Island alone, there are over 450 species of birds and 37 endemic species, such as javan hawk-eagle (Nisaetus bartelsi)  and Javan Scops-owl (Otus angelinae).
           The vast and lush frontier forests of Indonesia's eastern most Papua are home to some of the most glorious birds on Earth, such as  nearly mythical birds of paradise or  Paradisaea bird, and  huge, man-sized yet infuriatingly wary, and flightless cassowaries.
          Known locally as Cendrawasih,  the bird of paradise has long been recognized for its rarely beautiful plumage. Cendrawasih is believed by local tribes to have  mystical properties. wrote that there are around 43 birds of paradise species in the world, of which at least 28 can be found living in the rainforest of West Papua Province. The birds make their nest in tree holes and branches.
          The tribes believe that the bird is the bird of the gods that come from heaven and because of that the birds will never set foot on ground. Members of the tribes use Cendrawasih feathers to decorate their heads and cloths during cultural feast.
         On Sumatra Island, Kerinci Seblat National Park (TNKS) hosts a wide range of bird species making the park a potential world birdwatching tourism destination.
         "Based on my research since 1994, Kerinci National Park has around 300 bird species that live either inside the protected forests or in secondary forests," Dr. Wilson Nofarino, an ornithologist of Andalas University, Padang, West Sumatra Province, said in Jambi, Sumatra, last March 2011. 
    At least three endemic and rare bird species can be found in Kerinci Seblat National Park only, namely Paok Schneider, Cucak Kerinci and Celepuk Gunung (Mountain Owl).
          However, some bird species in Indonesia are currently on the brink of extinction. And the number of threatened bird species has increased from 122 in 2010 to 123 in 2011. 
    The number of endangered birds has risen because the status of Gosong Sula or Sula Megapode bird (megapodius bernsteinii) has worsened from near threatened to vulnerable.
          Of the 123 threatened bird species, 18 were categorized as critically endangered, 31 endangered, and 74 vulnerable,  Ria Saryanthi said in Bogor, West Java, recently.
           "All of them are included in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)," Ria stated.     
      The bird population has decreased due to the degradation of their natural habitat, she added.
          More than a half of the 18 critically endangered species are found in lowland rain forests on small islands such as Sangihe, Siau, Buru, Banggai (Sulawesi Island), Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores (Nusa Tenggara Islands), and Bali.
           "Except Bali, all the small islands are in  Wallacea area," Ria said.
          Among the critically endangered species are Sariwang sangihe or Caerulean paradise-flycatcher (Eutrichomyias rowleyi), kacamata sangihe or Sangihe White-eye (Zosterops nehrkorni), anis-betet sangihe or Sangihe Shrike-thrush (Colluricincla sanghirensis), celepuk siau or Siau Scops Owl (Otus siaoensis) and tokhtor sumatera or Sumatran Ground Cuckoo (Carpococcyx viridis).
          According to data collected by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), of the 13 hornbill species that exist in Indonesia, the Julang Sumba (Aceros everetti) is threatened by extinction and has been listed in the vulnerable  category.
          Sumba  hornbills are also under threat of extinction as  indiscriminate forest exploitation is progressively destroying their habitats.
         "Indiscriminate deforestation is doing enormous  damage to the hornbills' feed sources. This situation is increasingly threatening their ability to survive," said Dwi Mulyawati in Bogor last June.
         She said  hornbills fufill an important function in  forest regeneration. Without hornbills, forests would soon lose their ability to regenerate  and with the forests gone, so would all their natural potentials.
            Reserch conducted in a production forest had shown a 56-percent reduction in  hornbill feed sources as a consequence of the elimination of 76 percent of  trees that produce their feed.
           The lowland rain forest coverage and quality in Indonesia have affected the survival of birds. Over a half of Indonesia's endangered bird species live in the forests.
          Most of the threatened bird species in Indonesia live in their forest habitats.  Wood pigeon (Columba sp.), uncal (Macropygia sp.), delimukan (Chalcopaps sp. and Gallicolumba sp. ), pergam (Ducula sp.), and walik (Ptilinopus sp.) are pigeon families which are highly depending on their forest habitats.
         They are being threatened because of hunting, illegal trade and pressures on their habitat due to illegal logging and forest area conversions.
          The increase in human population, economic development policies have also affected the wildlife and ecosystem.  
    The current problem is that not all Bird Important Regions (DPB) are within conservation areas, as some of them are found in production forests, she explained.  
    "Protection must be made by giving priority to DPB for birds," Ria said. ***4***
(T.F001/A/F001/O001) 20-07-2011 15:45:40

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