FNPF’s Bali Starling Conservation Project on Nusa Penida has already saved from extinction in the wild the critically endangered Bali Starling (Leucopsar rothschildi), also known as Rothschild’s Mynah, Bali Myna, Bali Mynah and Jalak Bali. The Bali Starling is Bali’s emblem bird, is endemic to Bali and is one of the world’s most endangered bird species.
FNPF has uniquely transformed the 3 islands of Nusa Penida (Penida, Ceningan and Lembongan) into a bird sanctuary for endangered birds. In 2006, after 2 years of conservation education, conservation events, and meetings with village leaders and their communities, FNPF received agreement from all 41 villages on Penida that a traditional customary regulation “awig awig” would be passed to make protection of birds obligatory by all village residents. This effectively converted the islands into a bird sanctuary where birds can fly freely in the wild under the protection of the communities.
In return, FNPF sponsors children to attend school and university; runs a community library; funds traditional dance classes; teaches sustainable farming; grows and freely distributes tree saplings for villages to build future incomes from agro-forestry; plants trees on degraded land to restore forests. Education and economic improvements that are in harmony with the environment enable the local communities to improve their wellbeing and participate in conservation. Trees reduce soil erosion, increase rainfall and provide economic benefit to residents and habitat for birds.
The cost and sustainability benefits of FNPF’s holistic approach, compared to other models, is most evident in the outcome of the Bali Starling.
- Despite many decades trying to rebuild Bali Starling numbers in the West Bali National Park with millions of dollars spent by the Indonesian government and NGOs on security and the release of hundreds of cage-bred birds into the park … by 2005 poachers (primarily from local villages) had reduced wild Bali Starling numbers to less than 10.
- Conversely, FNPF initially released just 64 Bali Starlings onto the island of Nusa Penida in 2006 & 2007. By 2010 there were over 100, making this the ONLY successful Bali Starling project. Then in 2011 released another 10. By mid 2012 it was estimated that there were at least 150 Bali Starlings and they had spread acorss all 3 island. FNPF’s approach is uniquely successful because the the local communities on Nusa Penida also benefit from FNPF’s project. Consequently, despite being a poor island, the communities protect the highly valuable birds from being stolen and sold.
The initial batch of Bali Starlings rehabilitated and released by FNPF onto Nusa Penida came from the Begawan Giri Hotel (later Begawan Foundation). FNPF’s founder and bird specialist, Dr Bayu Wirayudha, designed and managed the bird breeding programme at the Bali hotel to rear almost 100 birds from just 2 pairs imported from the UK. The birds were relocated to FNPF’s Centre on Nusa Penida, where 64 birds were rehabilitated and released in 2006/7.
They have been continuously monitored by FNPF staff since the release (spread and coverage, numbers, breeding cycle, choice of food and habitat) and their numbers had increased to at least 100 by end of 2009. In 2011 we captured photos of Bali Starlings without rings (bands) on their legs feeding their chicks … meaning that the chicks were at least 3rd generation from the original birds released.
To increase the genetic diversity of the population on Nusa Penida, FNPF is working with multiple Bali Starling breeders to release at least 10 additional Bali Starlings each year, starting in 2011, until we are convinced that the population is viable in terms of numbers and genetic diversity.
In July 2011, 10 young Bali Starlings were transported from Indonesia’s most reputable Bali Starling breeder in Java, to FNPF’s centre on Nusa Penida for rehabilitation. Then after 5 months of rehabilitation at the FNPF centre, the 10 Baali Starlings were released. The release ceremony took place in Ped temple, close to FNPF’s centre, and was attended by the Governor of Bali.
Click here to read more about the release by the Governor of Bali.
Please support our project by sponsoring a Bali Starling for FNPF to rehabilitate and release.