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The Members of Burung Indonesia Participated in the Waterbird Census in Pulau Rambut Wildlife Reserve

Burung Indonesia participated in the 2019 Asian Waterbird Census, which was carried out simultaneously in Asia and Australia every January. The activity took place at the Rambut Island Wildlife Sanctuary (RIWS) on Saturday, 19 January 2019, involving members of Burung Indonesia and the general public. This activity was one of the agenda of the Burung Indonesia’s Membership Program to introduce and appreciate the diversity of birds in Indonesia, as well as a call to various parties to protect bird habitats.

The Asian Waterbird Census is a voluntary citizen science activity by visiting wetland locations and counting waterbirds, both resident and migrant species. The members participated in counting and gathering information about the latest condition and threats to wetland—the waterbirds’ habitat.

Even though it seems like a serious activity, the members can enjoy the trip and the well-maintained environment of Rambut Island. Rambut Island is one of 228 important areas for birds and biodiversity in Indonesia, also an important area for the sustainability and function of wetlands in the world (Ramsar Site). The Christmas Frigatebird, a species on Critical—highest threat status according to International Union for Conservation of Nature—was available to observe on the way to Rambut Island.

The Milky Stork, which status is Critically Endangered, were encountered when entering the RIWS. In the 2018 census, 70 individuals of Milky Stork were observed, some of them were in breeding. Rambut Island is known to be the only place where the Milky Stork breeds in the waters of the island of Java—others are known to breed in Sumatra. Therefore, this observation is very important to send messages to various elements of society and the government to protect Rambut Island and the biodiversity in it.

“This island is excellent for beginners and new learners to do bird watching and species recognition. The preservation of the RIWS is important because it is a location for water birds to breed. If Rambut Island is damaged, the bird population will be threatened. It then will impact on the balance of the ecosystem, including Java Island, which is a habitat for foraging,” said Ferry Hasudungan, the Biodiversity Conservation Specialist on Burung Indonesia.

The Asian Waterbird Census activity carried out by Bird Indonesia members was part of the International Waterbird Census which covered the Americas, Africa, and Europe. In Indonesia, the census is coordinated by Wetlands International Indonesia in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the National Partnership for the Conservation of Migratory Birds and Their Habitat, and local partners.