Sulawesi photos updated

We have updated the Sulawesi Album with a few new photos. You can enjoy them here.

NEW! Red-bellied Pitta - Pitta erythrogaster celebensis

NEW! Red-bellied Pitta – Pitta erythrogaster celebensis

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

Photos from Sulawesi

Mehd has just spent a couple of days in Tasikoki Wildlife and Rescue Centre in northern Sulawesi as he is taking his World Parrot Trust colleague Richard Switzer around the Indonesian projects.
They even had time for a quick visit to Tangkoko National Park, and Richard got the opportunity to see one of his favourite birds; the Finch-billed Muna (or Grosbeak Starling).

As Mehd travels around Indonesia, I follow up with realising that our photo albums could be improved 🙂
But no harm done, I’ve just added a Sulwesi album. You find the new album here.
These photos are old, but we will update with newer and better photos soon.

Finch-billed Myna or Grosbeak Starling - Scissirostrum dubium

Finch-billed Myna or Grosbeak Starling – Scissirostrum dubium

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.

Video of Umbrella Cockatoos at nest

Video

A beautiful video of a pair of Umbrella Cockatoos (Cacatua alba) at nest.
Mehd is 75 meters away from the nest and is not disturbing their activities. The Umbrella Cockatoo is endemic to the island of Halmahera in eastern Indonesia.

Video of the bower of Vogelkop Bowerbird

Video

This is one of the scenes you can expect when you travel in the Arfak Mountains.

And here is the anonymous architect:

The anonymous architect: Arfak Bowerbird

The anonymous architect: Vogelkop Bowerbird

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

Video

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

Video

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