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

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.

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

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.

Follow-up on Red and Blue Lories (Eos histrio)

Mehd is on his way to Manado and Talaud Islands to check on the Red and Blue Lories that were confiscated in November 2013.
This project is through World Parrot Trust where Mehd is the Indonesia Project Manager.
Back in November 111 birds were confiscated on their way to Phillippines. Our hero Simon and his team at Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre were able to take them all in and Mehd and I arrived at the centre just hours after the lories had arrived.
We were able within a day or so to ensure Tasikoki that World Parrot Trust would supply funds for the birds. Lories have an expensive taste in diet and adding that to an already strained budget is no ones dream senario.
Anyway, plans are to eventually realease fit birds (their flight feathers had been pulled and there has been some permanent damage) back to the island of Krakelang in the Talauds, which is the only island they still inhabit!
Red and Blue Lory

Welcome to Birding Indonesia!

We offer Guided Tours to many different birding destinations in eastern Indonesia.
We start and end our tours in Bali, as it makes a nice and relaxing base.

Please also chek out our photos in the top menu from travels around Indonesia!

While travelling with us you will have the chance to see Lowland Peltops, Pesquet’s Parrot Palm Cockatoo, Western Parotia, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Pale-billed Sicklebill, Wilson’s Bird of Paradise and many more.
Lesser Bird of Paradise

We have travelled and birdwatched around Indonesia since 2001 and
from August 2007 we live in Yogyakarta on Java.

So far we have experience in birdwatching in the following locations:
Java, Bali, Komodo, Flores, Sulawesi, Halmahera, Buru, Sula, Tanimbar, Sumba, Timor, Flores, West Papua (Baliem Valley, outskirts of Foya mountains, Arfak mountains, lake Sentani), Merauke, Batanta, Salawati, Yapen, Biak and Numfor.

Kind regards
Lena & Mehd Halaouate