Five tail Bali starlings (Leucopsar rotschildi) released on the island of Nusa Penida, Klungkung regency, Bali, on Monday (02/04/2012). In Nusa Penida, Bali starling populations that are endangered and protected species currently around 100 individuals.
Bali starlings release is a collaboration of Natural Resources Conservation Center (KSDA) Bali Begawan Foundation, the foundation engaged in captive Bali starlings. Bali starling bird conservation programs in Nusa Penida has been going on since 2004.
“The five birds released from captivity was the result of the Bali starlings nesting in Nusa Penida,” said the Head of Conservation Areas II BKSDA Bali Ida Bagus Arnaya. Eggs were found in Nusa Penida and bred by the Begawan Foundation in Sibang, Badung regency, Bali.
Bali starling chicks, said Arnaya, vulnerable to the threat of predators such as snakes if it is left in the wild. The bird was released back into nature after six months in captivity and found himself able to find food in nature.
History of Bali starling conservation on Nusa Penida
- Protected in West Bali National Park – the Bali starling was reduced to less than 10 in the wild by 2005. Traded to global traffickers, the birds were poached by local villagers and organised gangs who sold the birds for large profit. Despite decades of breeding and protection programs by NGOs and the Indonesian government – the Bali starling was near extinction.
- In 2006-07, FNPF (Friends of the National Parks Foundation) initially released 64 Bali starlings onto the island of Nusa Penida. By 2010, the population had increased to over 100 – a highly successful breeding program.
- During 2011, FNPF released another 10 Bali starlings on Nusa Penida. Staff captured photos of Bali starlings without rings (bands) on their legs feeding their chicks – meaning that the chicks were at least 3rd generation from the original birds released.
- By mid-2012, the population was estimated at 105 Bali Starlings and the birds had repopulated across all three islands.
- After release, the Bali starlings are continuously monitored by FNPF staff – recording spread and coverage, numbers, breeding cycle, choice of food and habitat.
- To increase genetic diversity of the Bali starling population on Nusa Penida, FNPF is collaborating with multiple Bali starling breeders to release at least 10 additional Bali starlings each year, until we are convinced that the population is viable in terms of numbers and genetic diversity.
- Half a dozen, captive-bred Bali starling chicks were born at the FNPF Bali starling conservation program on Nusa Penida in late 2013.
- The initial batch of Bali starlings rehabilitated and released by FNPF onto Nusa Penida in 2006-07 were sourced from Begawan Giri Hotel (later Begawan Foundation) – where FNPF Founder & Director Dr Bayu Wirayudha, a bird specialist who designed and managed that bird breeding program. Successfully breeding almost 100 birds – from just two pairs imported from the United Kindgom – the first release included 64 of these captive-bred Bali starlings relocated to the FNPF Bali starling conservation program on Nusa Penida.
- FNPF’s holistic conservation and community approach is uniquely successful as local communities also benefit from FNPF’s projects. Despite being a poor island, the communities protect the highly valuable birds from being stolen and sold.
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