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The Influence of Updated List of Protected Species on Bird Conservation

Bogor (10/08) – The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has officially revoked Appendix of the Government Regulation No. 7 of 1999 on the Conservation of Plants and Animals. The appendix was then replaced by the Regulation of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Number P.20/MENLHK/SETJEN/KUM.1/6/2018 on the Drawn up List of Protected Plant and Animal Species.

In the updated list there are changes to the statuses of protected plant and animal species, from protected to unprotected and vice versa based on recommendations from LIPI (Indonesian Institute of Sciences) as the governmental authority for science and research in Indonesia.  According to the new regulation, the most species that join the list are bird species;

There are 562 bird species included in the list or 31.73% of the total 1,771 bird species in Indonesia, while there were only 437 in the previous list. Additionally, there are 27 species on the list or 98% of 28 Indonesian bird species that are categorised as Critically Endangered (CR) in IUCN Red List, while there were only 64% of them on the previous list.

According to Burung Indonesia’s Mainstreaming Biodiversity Officer Jihad, the new regulation is more actual in presenting the condition of plant and wildlife species that has declined dramatically in numbers of individuals in the wild, caused by changes to threats and declining population; and it also accommodate newly found endemic species.

“This regulation already included bird species that have disturbing trend of rapidly declining population in the wild as what has been happening to all species of Leafbirds (Chloropseidae)and several species of White-eyes (Zosterops flavus and Heleia wallacei) due to being widely traded.   While in the previous appendix, part of the species in the list did not reflect the latest development of the populations, threats, and science,” said Jihad in Bogor, Saturday, 11 August 2018.

In addition to species that have rapid downward trend, species that have small population (threatened)—such as White Cockatoo (Cacatua Alba) and Chattering Lory (Lorius garrulus)—also considered as one of the protection criteria. Restricted range species (endemic) are also included in the criteria to compile the list.  Morotai Pitta (Pitta morotaiensis), Black-chinned Monarch (Symposiachrus boanensis), and other new species split from other species are known to have a very limited distribution area.

Meanwhile, the utilisation of plant and animal species in Indonesia is governed by the Government Regulation Number 8 of 1999, including the utilisation mechanism such as in captive breeding.

We need to understand that changes to population of a certain species in its natural habitat may cause ecological imbalance. As an example, the case of Migratory Locust population explosion from 1997 to 1998 in the southern of Sumatra, especially in Lampung Province which suffered most from the invasion (Sudarsono, 2003).  It was implicated that the vanishing habitat of Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) due to the construction of large aquaculture ponds in Lampung as the cause of such incident. It is commonly known that the species is a natural predator of Migratory Locust; its decreasing population resulted in the population explosion of the latter.

All parrots in Wallacea are protected

This new regulation has a strong influence on efforts of parrot conservation in Wallacea.  It comes to the reason that all parrot species in Wallacea are included in the list of protected species.  This has become a major step to counter threats to various parrot species in Wallacea from hunting and trading.

Consistent law enforcement and outreach activities can be an aspect to be emphasised in every parrot conservation action to let the people aware of the protection status change.

The inclusion of White Cockatoo (Cacatua alba) and Chattering Lory (Lorius garrulus) in the protection list is an example of why the list requires update adjusted to the current conditions of plant and wildlife species, such as changes to threats and population decline. The White Cockatoo and Chattering Lory are birds endemic to North Maluku that are drastically declining due to hunting and trading.

Both species are two prioritised species in Wallacea and Burung Indonesia Partnership Programme that were not protected previously, but they are currently protected under the Government Regulation Number 20 of 2018 on the Drawn up List of Protected Plant and Animal Species. Other prioritised species in Wallacea included in the list are Roti Island Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina mccordi), Obi Island Birdwing (Ornithoptera aesacus), Wallace’s Golden Birdwing (Ornithoptera croesus), Talaud Black Birdwing (Troides dohertyi), Buru Opalescent Birdwing (Troides prattorum), and Narrow Sawfish (Anoxypristis cuspidata).