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Back into the wild

Publication Date : 27-02-2013


A Javan eagle, declared by the Indonesian government to be endangered, has been released back into its natural habitat


The governor of Yogyakarta in Java, Indonesia, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, released a Javan eagle (Nisaetus bartelsi), declared by the government to be an endangered species, to its natural habitat in the Gunung Merapi National Conservation Park forest areas on Tuesday.

“I hope this event can help build our awareness towards the natural environment and protected species,” he said during the eagle’s release, which took place at the national park that is located in the western slope of the Merapi mountain in Turgo, Purwobinangun, Sleman regency.

The male Javan hawk was already flying high shortly after Sri Sultan opened the net cage. The raptor then perched on the limb of a bamboo tree growing in the slope of the Merapi mountain. Several officers from the Yogyakarta Natural Conservation Foundation (YKAY) kept watching the raptor’s activities on the tree.

“We need to build awareness among people not to catch the Javan eagle anymore,” said Sri Sultan. Several officials attended the bird’s release. They included the Forestry Ministry’s director general for forest protection and nature conservation (PHKA) Darori; Yogyakarta’s natural resources conservation agency (BKSDA) head Ammy Nurwati; Gunung Merapi National Conservation Park head Petrus Bambang Darmadja; and Sleman regent Sri Purnomo.

During the ceremony, Sri Sultan also invited the BKSDA officials to take a Javan peacock (Pavo muticus), also considered by the government to be endangered, which he had been taking care of at his private residence at the Yogyakarta palace. According to the Indonesian government's regulation on plant and animal preservation, the Javan peacock is among the birds that are forbidden from being kept as pets

“If you want to take my birds from my house, please do it. Because frankly speaking, some of them were not taken care of properly,” said the Yogyakarta governor.

Ammy said the Javan eagle that was released to its natural habitat was handed over by Khusnun Irawan, a local resident, to the agency on June 24, 2011. Before being released, the 4 or 5-year-old raptor was rehabilitated at the Yogyakarta Natural Conservation Foundation in Pengasih, Kulonprogo regency, for two years.

"We chose the Turgo forests as the location of the bird’s release because the area is still really natural. There is also a female Javan hawk there,” said Ammy.

The forests on the slope of the Merapi mountain are one of habitats of the Javan eagle. Currently, it is estimated that no more than five Javan eagles are still living in the area. In the Java islands, the Javan eagle population is only around 200.

“The Javan eagle is a protected bird and an endangered species,” said Darori. The International Union for Conservation of Nature had declared the Javan eagle as an endangered species ten years ago.

“The Javan eagle or Garuda has become the symbol of the state. It will be very sad for us if the species goes extinct,” he said.


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