Endangered bird gets reserved beach in Indonesia

Monday, May 18, 2009

JAKARTA - An exclusive private beach has been reserved as a protected nesting area for an endangered bird species in Indonesia, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

Located on the Binerean Cape in northern Sulawesi, the 36-acre beach is now owned by PALS (Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation), a local NGO that works with WCS to conserve wildlife in Sulawesi.

The beach is now a protected habitat for the maleo, a unique bird which relies on the sun-baked sands of beaches and in some instances, volcanically heated soil, to incubate its eggs, which it buries in the ground.

The beach was purchased for approximately $12,500, donated by the Lis Hudson Memorial Fund and the Singapore-based company Quvat Management. The project was also supported throughout by the Dutch-based Van Tienhoven Foundation.

‘Protecting this beach is just the first step in what will soon be a comprehensive conservation project for the benefit of the maleo,’ said Noviar Andayani, country director of WCS’s Indonesia Program.

‘Fewer than 100 nesting sites still exist throughout the bird’s entire home range, so every one counts.’

The maleo is a chicken-sized bird with a blackish back, a pink stomach, yellow facial skin, a red-orange beak and a black helmet or ‘casque’.

The bird’s eggs are some five times larger than those of a chicken and are buried by the parent birds in the soil and then abandoned. The chicks hatch and emerge from the soil able to fly and fend for themselves, said a WCS release.

Four maleo chicks were released in a ceremony held by WCS staff members and some 60 participants from local communities to commemorate the beach’s new protected status.

Filed under: Asia

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