Thursday, June 18, 2009
The population of a central Sulawesi icon,the striking black -and white maleo bird ( Macrocephalon maleo) is on the verge of extinction due to poaching, environmental workers say.
estimated that the curent population of the maleo, wich is part of the distinctive and rare Ordo megapodidae species, now numbered less than 1,000. '' Whereas, based on our estimated data, the population of the bird in 1998 was about 10,000 in one single habitat,"
Villagers often hunted the big-footed birds anf their eggs, which they could sell to rare animal collectors. The money was such that people were willing to wait for the birds to lay their eggs in sandy soil for hours on end, he said.
When the females returned to their nests in the evening residents dug 7to 10 meters into the soil to take the birds single egg.
The maleo was often sighted near settlement near forests and coasts.
As weel as being a national symbol of Central Sulawesi, the Maleo was also use for then - minister of research and technology B.J Habibie as the name for a car in the soeharto-era national car program.
But now, people seldom saw the maleo. Because of this, the park outority was conducting a breeding program to try to protect the birds from total extinction,. It had successfully bred more than 200 birds in captivity and had already released 10 back into nature this month.
The breeding sit is located in Merauke national park. They are released birds...and there are more hatchings to come at the village."
The park has involved local residents in the breeding plan who have been told of the dangers the maleo faces and are being paid to preserve the bird.
the effortas had been quite fruitful.Now more aware of conservation strategies, the villagers would also act as a control on poachers in the area.
In Celebes, Before the national park fice had got involved, a villager from Parigi Moutong, the late Daeng Pabbeta, was a pioneer of efforts to preserve the bird and reseived the Kalpataru environmental award from former president Soeharto.
I'm as people from Merauke hoped there were still residents in or around the park who would act like Daeng to voluntarily protect the birds from dying out.
Central Sulawesi Governor Aminudin Ponulele recently emphasized that his administration would componsate anyone who made effor to keep the maleo from extinction.
" The maleo has always been a symbol of our pride.If the speies goes, our pride will go with it.
Often ground - dwelling the maleo requeres a humid climate anf sandy suroundings and their habitats ar usully near coatal areas thick with sand and undergrowth and protsted from the wave.