Friday, May 15, 2009

Wildlife Conservation: Indonesia gives rare bird its own beach

Xinhua reports Maleo - a chicken-sized endangered bird with black helmet-like forehead - has got its own private nesting place on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

According to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Friday, Maleo--which is able to fly immediately after hatching from egg buried beneath the tropical sand, has just been given a protected habitat in eastern Indonesia.

Located on the Binerean Cape in northern Sulawesi, the 14-hectare (approximately 36 acres) beach is now owned by PALS (Pelestari Alam Liar dan Satwa, or Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation), a local NGO that works with WCS to conserve wildlife in Sulawesi.

Maleo 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 species number from 5,000 to 10,000 in the wild and can only be found on Sulawesi island.

"The protected area is already helping raise awareness about this bird," said John Tasirin, WCS program coordinator on the island, adding that is especially significant because humans are the greatest threat to the maleo's survival.

Villagers often dig up the eggs and harvest them for food, he said.

Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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