January is the perfect moment to join the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), which is annually conducted in countries across Asia and Australasia continents. This year, Burung Indonesia returned to Rambut Island Wildlife Reserve in Kepulauan Seribu District of Jakarta to participate in the census, joined by members of Birdlife Indonesia Association and public volunteers. The activity was held on Saturday, 29 January 2002.
According to Achmad Ridha Junaid, Biodiversity Conservation Officer of Burung Indonesia, observing in nature is another alternative for communities to preserve birds, other than keeping them as pets.
“In addition to counting birds (experience), the participants will also learn about habitats and current threats to birds and their habitat,” Ridha said.
AWC is a citizen science activity conducted on wetlands, aiming to estimate the number of both resident and migratory birds. The implementation of AWC carried out by Burung Indonesia was intended to introduce bird diversity to the public, so that the efforts to protect the habitats can be intensified.
Ridha explained that Rambut Island is one of 228 Key Areas for Birds and Biodiversity in Indonesia and important for the sustainability of wetlands function in the world (Ramsar Site). Thus, it was chosen to be the location for AWC. Neighbouring with Untung Jawa Island, the island is a stopover spot for Australian migratory birds, the Christmas Island Frigatebird, which was declared Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
"This island in general has an important role of a few percent of the global population of endangered bird species," he added.
The Endangered Milky Stork breeds on this 45-hectare island. The estimation of its global population, according to IUCN, is 1.500 individuals whereas 100 of them inhabit Rambut Island. That is why the island holds an important role to Milky Stork existence. Therefore, this observation is crucial in delivering a message on protecting Rambut Island and its biodiversity, to preserve the incredible birds for future generations.