Bali Post reports that efforts to widen the habitat and wild population of the Bali Starling (Leucopsar rothschildi) on Nusa Penida Island still lacks needed support from the provincial and regional government.
In order to track developments in the population of the highly endangered Bali Starlings over the past year the Yayasan Pencinta Taman Nasional (Friends of the National Parks), and members of the medical and biology faculties at Bali's Udayana University are undertaking surveys at Nusa Penida June 26-29, 2013.
News of the planned surveys was advised by I Gede Nyoman Bayu Wirayuda, the founder of the Yayasan Pencinta Taman Nasional at a press conference held on Friday, May 31, 2013.
The project to establish a breeding population of Bali Starlings on Nusa Penida outside their normal territorial range was commenced in 2004. A count announced by the Foundation in May 2012 estimated a living population of 105 birds on the island located just off the coast of Bali
The population of Bali Starlings on Nusa Penida began to be disturbed in the beginning of 2013. Some loss of birds is blamed on natural predators, such as snakes and monitor lizards. At the same time, Bayu accuses certain individuals working in organized groups of capturing and selling Bali Starlings. The illegal capture of Starlings has also been witnessed first hand by. He said hard proof of poaching is hard to come by with some people posing as conservationists working instead to capture the birds for sale to rare bird collectors.
Bayu Wirayuda said the coming survey will include the participation of independent observers and cover 18 different observation points on Nusa Penida and nearby Nusa Lembongan.
Bayu said surveys would be carried out on an annual basis with the results handed to the regency and provincial governments. He said that to date there has been little official response to their survey findings, with little or no follow up to their findings by government agencies.
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