Leopard discovery in Java, Indonesia

This video is about leopards.

From Antara news agency in Indonesia:

Leopard detected in conservation forests in East Java

Tue, February 4 2014 23:33

Tulungagung, E Java – The East Java chapter of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) has detected Javanese leopards (Panthera pardus melas) in four conservation forests in the region, stated its head, Hartoyo.

He released the statement here on Tuesday, in response to a declaration on saving the endangered Javanese leopard issued at a Javanese leopard conservation conference in Bogor, West Java, on January 29-30, 2014.

“So far, we have come to know about it, based on the reports indicating the existence of the wild animal and also from some eye witnesses,” he remarked during a telephonic conversation, when asked to give confirmation about the existence of the Javanese leopard.

He admitted that the existence of the Javanese leopard was not properly documented as it is not included as species whose protection must be prioritized based on the ministerial regulation.

The Javanese bull (Bos javanicus), Javanese eagle (Nisaetus bartelsi), and cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) have been identified by the ministry as three rare species and their monitoring has been prioritized.

The Javanese leopard is not included in the BKSDAs monitoring priority list as it is not included in the list of protected animals, although its existence in the forests is almost extinct.

“We are awaiting a legal decision to declare the Javanese leopard as a protected animal before we can make any protection plans,” he emphasized.

He explained that the existence of the big cat has been threatened by the loss of habitat due to deforestation as well as conflict with humans and diseases.

In the past five years, the Javanese leopard has been spotted in the Ijen (Bondowoso), Sempu (Malang), Sigoho, and Picis (Ponorogo) forests, he claimed.

However, their existence had yet to be confirmed based on the research and scientific monitoring data, he added.

“Now, confirmation of its existence is based on an ocular analysis and general information obtained from the witnesses. There has been no direct contact between the BKSDA officials and the animal, except in Ijen, some time ago,” he stated.

Leopard observer Hendra Gunawan pointed out that the Javanese leopard is the only big cat that still exists in Java after the Javanese tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) was declared extinct in the 1980s.

“Thus, unless serious efforts are made to protect the leopard, the fate of this big cat will also follow suit,” he remarked at the conference in Bogor.

The Javanese leopard has been categorized as critically endangered species and put in the list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature under the category Appendix I in CITES.

No exact data is available on the exact numbers of the Javanese leopard existing in the forests of Java.

“Since mapping was conducted four years ago, the animal was mostly found in Halimun-Salak or Pangrango Mountain (West Java),” Hendra reported.

Reporting by Slamet Agus Sudarmojo

February 2014: Two men have been arrested in Malaysia by wildlife authorities following the discovery of a leopard carcass and a mouse deer at a bus stop near the town of Karak, in the state of Pahang, on the east coast of the country. Markings on the leopard’s foreleg indicate that a snare was used, a practice which is widespread among poachers in South-East Asia: here.

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Namibian, Indonesian wildlife news

This video from Namibia is called Bwabwata National Park.

From Wildlife Extra:

Two new Ramsar sites

January 2014: Two new Ramsar wetland sites have been designated in January; Bwabwata in Okavango, Namibia, which will be the country’s fifth, and Tanjung Puting National Park in Indonesia, the country’s seventh.

Situated in Bwabwata National Park, the site covers the lower Okavango River, part of the Okavango Delta Panhandle and permanently or temporarily flooded marshes and floodplains bordered by riparian forest and open woodland. It supports IUCN Red-Listed species, including the vulnerable African elephant, hippopotamus, lion, slaty egret and the endangered grey crowned crane. The site supports one of the highest diversities of species in the Zambezian Flooded Savannas ecoregion. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded, the highest number of any site in Namibia.

While Tanjung Puting National Park is one of the most important conservation areas in Central Kalimantan, acting as a water reservoir and representing one of the largest remaining habitats of the endangered Kalimantan Orangutan Pongo pygmaeus. The site consists of seven different types of swamp, including peat swamp forests, lowland tropical rainforest, freshwater swamp forests and as well as mangroves and coastal forest. It supports large numbers of endemic species of flora and fauna adapted to the predominant acidic peat swamp environment.

Sites are recognised by the Ramsar Convention Secretariat as a Wetland of International Importance and that the country’s comitment [sic] to maintain the ecological character of them.

This video from Indonesia is called Orangutan Odysseys Tanjung Puting National Park tour.

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Good rare bird news from Indonesia

This video says about itself:

2 May 2013

The elusive Moluccan Woodcock, first documented by Alfred Russel Wallace 150 years ago, has since been recorded just 10 times. Eden, John and team take the first photographs of the worlds largest woodcock, and record several other taxa of bird that appear to be new to science.

From Oxford University in Britain:

Moluccan woodcock is ‘not so endangered’ after all

Dec 31, 2013

A team of researchers has captured the first known photographs of the elusive Moluccan Woodcock (Scolopax rochussenii) and, in a rare case of good conservation news, suggest that it may be less threatened than previously believed.

The Moluccan Woodcock, which is restricted to two remote Indonesian islands, is classed as ‘endangered’ under International Union for the Conservation of Nature criteria. Yet, researchers from Oxford University and Louisiana State University managed to record it on 51 occasions during a two-month stay on Obi Island in the Northern Moluccas of Indonesia. In their study published in the Asian journal, Forktail, they suggest that despite only 10 confirmed records of the bird before their expedition, they discovered the population is much healthier than previously thought. They calculate there could be as many as 9,500 Moluccan Woodcocks on Obi island, adding that they the species appears to be living mainly in the lowlands – a surprising turn of events given that up until now ornithologists had believed the birds preferred the mountainous area at the centre of the island.

Eden Cottee-Jones of the University of Oxford and John Mittermeier from Louisiana State University camped on the island between July to August 2012 with the aim of capturing the first photographs of the Moluccan Woodcock. They were presented with numerous challenges due to the island’s rugged terrain and humidity, which affected the camera equipment. The birds also rarely came out of the undergrowth, appearing only briefly to perform a territorial display flight over the forest canopy for a few minutes at sunrise or dusk when the light was poor.

Using a 400mm lens with a flashlight taped under the lens hood, the researchers finally managed to take series of photographs of the bird at sunset on the final day of their 57-day expedition. The Moluccan Woodcock was at a distance of about 20 metres overhead when the researchers managed to take photographs while standing ankle-deep in the river. They were alerted to the bird’s flight by its distinctive rattling call.

Researcher Eden Cottee-Jones said: ‘Even when a Moluccan Woodcock would fly within camera range, the darkness and humidity in the air led to multiple technical problems with our equipment, and that was just on the days when it wasn’t raining. The other challenge was that the bird spends most of its day hidden in the undergrowth so there were few opportunities to photograph it in the open.’

John Mittermeier added: ‘The Moluccan Woodcock only appears briefly at dawn and dusk to perform territorial display flights lasting around 21 minutes in the morning and 13 minutes at night. The size of their territories, along with the speed and height of their display flights, meant we only had two to three chances daily of taking a picture, and the best spot for a view of the bird was usually in the middle of a river!’

The Moluccan Woodcock was first collected by German naturalist Heinrich Bernstein, who obtained a single male specimen from Obi in 1862. Over the next 150 years, only seven additional individuals were recorded, six from Obi and a single individual from the neighbouring island, Bacan. After two birds were collected in 1982, the species disappeared for nearly 30 years. Ornithologists making three visits to Obi between 1989 and 2010 failed to record the bird. However, in 2010 the species was ‘rediscovered’ at two sites on Obi by a French ornithologist who recorded the bird’s call.

On this latest expedition, the researchers surveyed 20 scattered sites around Obi and conducted interviews with local people, using modelling to calculate the total population of Moluccan Woodcocks on the island. The display behaviour and population size of this enigmatic bird are discussed in the study, which concludes that this ‘lost species’ is less endangered than expected and should be reassessed as ‘vulnerable’.

The Moluccan Woodcock is a forest wader with a long black beak, a golden-brown plumage with black mottled markings and is recorded as living only on the remote islands of Obi and Bacan. A protected area has been proposed in the mountainous centre of Obi, but for the first time this research suggests that conservationists need to consider measures to protect the population in the lowlands. Although the interviews with local villagers reveal that the birds are not hunted as food, the study says logging and nickel mining present a major threat to the birds’ future habitat.

Explore further: Former ‘Rat Island’ in Alaska has whole new look.

More information: Read the study here.

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Endangered Bali starlings to bird sanctuary

This video says about itself:

31 March 2011

The Bali Starling or Rothchilds Mynah, is critically endangered with only a few dozen birds left in the wild and in captivity.

From the Jakarta Globe in Indonesia:

Endangered Bali Starlings Given New Home on Island Bird Sanctuary

3:06 am December 27, 2013

A pair of endangered Bali Starlings taken from West Bali National Park are to be set free at a bird sanctuary on a small island east of Bali, an activist said on Friday.

The starlings, known locally as jalak Bali, will be released on Nusa Penida island on Dec 30, I Gede Nyoman Bayu Wirayudha said in a press release.

Bayu is the founder and CEO of the Friends of the National Parks Foundation (FNPF), a non-profit that works to protect wildlife in habitats. The organization manages the sanctuary on Nusa Penida island.

“Indonesia’s Minister of Forestry, Zulkifli Hasan, will release the birds in a special ceremony near our conservation center at 10 a.m. on Monday,” Bayu said. “These birds will bring a new blood line to the more than 100 Bali starlings already living in the wild within the island sanctuary.”

The FNPF has been providing technical support and advice to the park’s Bali starling conservation program for more than 10 years.

Bayu said that the two starlings were given in exchange for starlings from FNPF’s breeding collection on Nusa Penida.

The sanctuary, the only one of its kind in Indonesia, provides an unofficial haven for endangered birds.

FNPF claimed that the project had the backing of the islands’ 46 villages. The sanctuary also had the backing of the Bali Bureau of Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), which recently sponsored the installation of four bird’s nest boxes on the island, along with the donation seeds and polybags for FNPF’s nursery.

The Bali starling is one of world’s most endangered birds. Nusa Penida is home to an estimated 100 Bali starlings today, up from just 10 birds in 2006.

Earlier this month, conservation officials in Solo, Central Java, imposed new rules for the trade in the critically endangered species, in a bid to stamp out the illegal practice of passing off wild-caught birds as captive-bred ones.

Baby elephant video from Indonesia

This video from Indonesia says about itself:

Baby elephant learns to use her trunk

20 Dec 2013

This adorable baby elephant was born to a mother who is part of an elite team of critically endangered Sumatran elephants that help protect communities from conflict with wild elephants in Indonesia.

She’s nearly 4 months old, growing fast and starting to imitate her mother’s behaviour. Here it looks like she’s getting to grips with using her trunk!

Read more about the fantastic work of WWF-Indonesia’s elephant Flying Squad and the newest addition here.