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Welcome Birds: Migratory Birds and the Charm of Lake Limboto

On 9 August 2015, Burung Indonesia together with several Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) held an event to celebrate bird diversity in Indonesia, especially in Gorontalo, North Sulawesi.

The event titled Welcome Birds: Migratory Birds and the Charm of Lake Limboto was organised by the Community for the Earth – Komunitas untuk Bumi (KUBU), Photography Community of Gorontalo – Masyarakat Fotografi Gorontalo (MFG), Artist of Gorontalo – Gorontalo Perupa (Goropa), Gorontalo Independent Journalist Alliance – Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) Gorontalo, Green Community Forum – Forum Komunitas Hijau(FKH), and Natural Resource Management Advocacy Network – Jaringan Advokasi Pengelolaan Sumber Daya Alam (Japesda).

Lake Limboto is one of the stopover sites for migratory birds from Australia, Asia, and Europe in Sulawesi. During the peak of water bird migration, those migratory birds will feed and nest at places around the lake.

In order to monitor them, Burung Indonesia held hunting photo, sketching, and bird watching sessions in Limboto during the event. In bird watching session that started from 05.00 WITA, the birdwatchers and wildlife photographers were able to find 13 migratory bird species. However, according to Hanom Bashari, biodiversity conservation specialist from Burung Indonesia, if the finding is combined with preliminary data and further identification, the number of migratory birds that stop over at Limboto stands at 34 species, including Red-necked Stint, Black-winged Stilt, and Common Greenshank.

In the afternoon around 16.00 hours, the event was proceeded with interactive discussion “Talking about Migratory Birds”, mural painting by a Portuguese wildlife painter Paulo Alves and Gorontalo Artist Community (Goropa) as well as colouring activities for children. The interactive discussion had Amsurya Warman Amsa (Burung Indonesia), Fadli Alamri (BLHRD of Gorontalo Province), Idham Ali (MFG), and Iwan Hunowu (WCS) as speakers with Dani Rogi (environmental observer) as the moderator.

According to Idham Ali, several species of migratory birds monitored during the observation will be included in the new information on Limboto. Iwan Hunowu explained that Lake Limboto is an important foraging site to migratory birds that provides food during extreme weather in their home areas.

The Coordinator of Burung Indonesia Gorontalo Programme Amsurya Warman Amsa elaborated that we should be able to maintain the charm of Lake Limboto that attracts migratory birds. This periodically stopover proves that Lake Limboto has potentials and resources which attracts those migratory birds to come every year.

The seasonal visit can be a specific tourist attraction if it is well promoted. The government and community need to know that it is a tourism potential of Lake Limboto that can be developed. Additionally, the communities around Lake Limboto and the local government are expected to maintain and preserve Lake Limboto’s ecosystem. Ideally, the existence of migratory birds at Lake Limboto will bring a sense of pride to the communities of Gorontalo, resulting in the promotion of conservation and protection efforts.

The local government through Local Research and Environment Agency (BLHRD) of Gorontalo Province emphasised that they continue to do the mapping of Lake Limboto’s potential. “The result of this activity will add to the information for Lake Limboto Management Working Group,” said Fadi Alamri from BLHRD of Gorontalo. They also plan to do participatory monitoring and the results will be used in drafting Strategic Environmental Study (KLHS) of Gorontalo Province. In accordance with that statement, member of Gorontalo Provincial Parliament Ansar Akuba confirmed the importance of doing a review of Regional Regulation No. 1 on Lake Limboto Management. Complete data and comprehensive information from all contributors to the development and conservation of Lake Limboto are essential in order to do a whole and thorough review of the regulation.

This event eventually became the first step in promoting the migratory birds of Lake Limboto. Hopefully, they will encourage the communities and government to care about the conservation of Lake Limboto.