Other animals

We do come across quite a few animals on our tours.
Mehd was travelling to Waigeo for vacation recently and came across this beautiful Waigeo Cuscus.

Waigeo Cuscus - Spilocuscus papuensis

Waigeo Cuscus – Spilocuscus papuensis

An amazing creature and they were six persons admiring it and taking photos of this magnificent creature:
When Mehd got back to Bali and started going throught the photos of his trip, he was very surprised to realized none of them had noticed this:

Waigeo Cuscus and Amethystine Python in the background

Waigeo Cuscus and Amethystine Python in the background

A huge snake was almost as close to them as the Cuscus.
The snake is an Amethystine Python – Morelia amethystina amethystina in the background. Thanks Des Hume for IDing both species!

This goes to show how much we probably miss seeing when we are out birding or whatever we ae looking for.

Snakes also reminded me of when Mehd was planning for a scouting trip to Merauke and Wasur National Park. The biotop in south Papua is very similar to Australia (as you can see in photos here) and I had only ONE request; “I don’t want a picture of a Taipan”.
And what did I get? Yes, you guessed it 🙂 A picture of a Taipan…

Common Taipan - Oxyuranus scutellatus

Common Taipan – Oxyuranus scutellatus

Bird photos from Waigeo

Long overdue is the Waigeo photo album that you can find here.

Join our next tour to Biak, Nimbokrang, Arfak, Sorong and Waigeo 1 May 2016

Biak, Nimbokrang, Arfak, Sorong and Waigeo 1 May 2016

Male Magnificent bird of paradise - Cicinnurus magnificus

Male Magnificent bird of paradise – Cicinnurus magnificus

One of Mehd’s missions – World Parrot Trust

Mehd’s life is filled with birds – you know that by now 🙂
Parrots have always been closest to his heart (and mine) and he has been a part of World Parrot Trust since 2010.
Indonesian projects at the World Parrot Trust are Yellow-crested Cockatoos (Cacatua sulphurea), Mitchell’s Lorikeets (Trichoglossus h. mitchelli)  and Red-and-blue Lories (Eos histrio).
They are also supporting Tasikoki Wildlife and Rescue Centre in north Sulawesi, a place that receives much of what is seized in the illegal trade there. Two years ago they received 100+ Red-and-blue Lories, last year 50+ Black-capped Lories and just today 10 more threatened birds – among them more Red-and-blur Lories.
WPT is also supporting the private zoo in Surabaya which house the cockatoos that were smuggled in plastic water bottles earlier this year (I’m sure you saw the pictures).

Sulphur-crested Cocaktoo - Cacatua s. sulphurea from Sulawesi

Sulphur-crested Cocaktoo – Cacatua s. sulphurea from Sulawesi

You can read more about Mehd’s work for WPT here.

Arfak photos updated

There are now some new photos in the Arfak album. These photos are a compilation of our two latest trips to Seth in the Arfaks.
A special thanks to Geert Beckers who provided the amazing photo of a male Dwarf Cassowary and his two chicks. The sighting of this species is quite unique to our knowledge.
Enjoy photos of displaying Black SIcklebills and Magnificent Birds of Paradise here.

New photos: Nimbokrang and Lake Sentani

I just realised there were no photos from Nimbokrang. Finally we have uploaded a few photos from the famous Jamil and his birding area. You find the new album here: Nimbokrang + Lake Sentani

The Indonesia Nine – you can help them

As many of you know, Mehd works as World Parrot Trust’s Indonesia Programme Manager. He wanted to follow-up on the story and decided to visit the 8 surviving cockatoos and 1 Eclectus male in Maharani Zoo outside Surabaya.
They are in surprisingly good condition and are well looked after by the zoo staff. But of course they are in desperate need of funding and you can help by donating to our fund raising campaign.

Two of the surviving 8 Eleonora cockatoos

Two of the surviving 8 Eleonora Cockatoos

Six of the eight Eleonora Cockatoos rehabilitating in Maharani Zoo outside Surabaya

Six of the eight Eleonora Cockatoos rehabilitating in Maharani Zoo outside Surabaya

When Mehd researched some more and saw the birds, it was easy to see the mistake they’ve made in all newspapers. These are all Eleonora or Medium Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (Cacatua galerita eleonora) originating from Aru and introduced in Kai Islands.

We will follow up on this story as soon as Mehd is back in Indonesia in the beginning of July.

Smuggling of parrots in Indonesia

They’ve done it again!
We guess that few of you have missed the horrible pictures of cockatoos stuffed in plastic water bottles. The pictures have gone “viral” on internet and I (Lena) completely lost it for a couple of days. It was quite easy to loose hope in mankind, when that helpless cockatoo stared me in the eyes on my computer screen.
Here is the article, PLEASE be aware of very graphic pictures!!
The cockatoos were Yellow-crested Cockatoos – Cacatua sulphurea which are critically endangered with an estimated world population of 1500-7000 mature individuals according to BirdLife International.

Yellow-crested Cockatoo from Komodo

This is how we’d like to see all cockatoos in Indonesia. Picture taken on Komodo Island.

So this species really doesn’t need to loose ANY individuals to smugglers!
There are so many problems to address here so we don’t really know where to start.
First problem is of course demand! Legislation in Indonesia is way behind and can’t be used to stop the trade. The official list of endangered animals in Indonesia is embarrassingly short.
Fortunately this confiscation has sparked an outcry on the matter and there is a petition on Change.org with a demand to revise the outdated legislations. Please sign it to help protect Indonesian wildlife. The petition is in Indonesian, the signing bit is in English.
Second problem is poverty. Trapping birds is a way to put food on the table for poor families in remote areas and it is symbiotic to the demand. If there was no demand, these poor locals wouldn’t catch animals. And if they weren’t poor they wouldn’t supply the smugglers who answer to the demand…We don’t have a solution to this one, but finding other ways to earn money would be ideal.
We ourselves believe in gentle tourism. It is a brilliant way to give locals an income and also to educate them on the reason we travel across the world to see an animal that they are taking for granted.

Yellow-crested Cockatoo from south Sulawesi, the same race as the confiscated birds.

Yellow-crested Cockatoo from south Sulawesi, the same race as the confiscated birds.

There was an article published yesterday on Mongabay that gives hope about the public outcry in Indonesia on this matter, but it is also a cause for concern.
Suddenly people are prone to set their pet birds free. And the Forestry Minister is cited that the cockatoos come from the Moluccas (according to the smuggler they were caught in Sulawesi and the Yellow-crested Cockatoo is NOT endemic to the Moluccas). She is also cited to want to release the surviving birds on a mountain in Java.
We sincerely hope that the journalists have got it all wrong and that the Forestry Minister is on top of it all!
In this article it actually sound like there is an amnesty for turning in illegal wildlife, which would be good. Hopefully they also have a plan what to do with all the animals they receive.
A third problem we need to address on this matter is the massive bureaucracy involved in conservation. In order to work with a species we need to obtain a permission from each region.
This means in order to work with the Yellow-crested Cockatoo, we’d need to obtain permissions from Nusa Tneggara Timur, Nusa Tenggara Barat, Timor, south Sulawesi and Java (Cs abbotti).
But it feels like there is room for a dialouge now, when the news about cockatoos have travelled around the world and also within Indonesia.

Yellow-crested Cockatoo from Masakmabing in the Java Sea.

Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua s. parvula from Nusa Penida east of Bali.

Geelvink Pygmy Parrot


As you all know we really love parrots and we really love Biak. So what could be better than a Biak parrot today?
Geelvink Pygmy Parrot – Micropsitta geelvinkiana misoriensis

When you google this species Mehd’s pictures are always at the top. It took some time to learn their behaviour and to spot them.

Paradise Crows in Halmahera


Another amazing video from the Christmas tour to Halmahera, Paradise Crows – Lycocorax pyrrhopterus.