UBUD, Bali (BPN) – Begawan Foundation’s Breeding and Release Centre has been officially opened at Begawan, Melinggih Kelod Village, Payangan, Gianyar Regency, on Wednesday, May 23. Along with the community-based breeding program in Melinggih Kelod Village, the Breeding and Release Centre is now open to all breeders and the local community.
The Centre itself currently has fifty-three Bali Starlings, eight Mitchell’s and Forsten’s Lorikeets, as well as three Black-Winged Starlings.
According to Dewa Made Rupa, from the Breeding Division at the Gianyar Agriculture Office, the endangered status of the Bali Starling is due to the main issue of hunting and poaching for pets.
Thus, in 1999, Begawan Foundation created the Bali Starling Conservation program with the aim of increasing the population of the endangered bird into its wild habitat. The Foundation released sixty-five Bali Starlings in 2006 and 2007 on Nusa Penida island and sixteen Starlings at Sibang from 2010 to 2012. However, many of the birds released were captured by poachers.
To monitor released birds, Begawan Foundation will involve the local community, which has an important role to play in the fight against wildlife crime. The Foundation also engages with the local community to participate in bird conservation, which is often challenging and arduous.
“With the breeding centre and the community-based conservation program in the village, support and awareness from locals will automatically be increased in order to reach our mutual goal of conserving and reintroducing the endangered bird’s population back into the wild,” Melinggih Kelod Village Head I Nyoman Suwardana said.
Through the Bali Starling conservation program, the residents of the local villages will benefit through eco-tourism and other tourism opportunities. “The community-based conservation program has been devised to support the community with business opportunities and to support the existence of wild Bali Starlings, Bali’s Mascot,” Begawan Foundation Founder Bradley Gardner said during his speech.
The Foundation also runs a number of education and after-school programs in Payangan, Bali. The curriculum is focused on conservation and environmental protection, and has resulted in a formation of a group of Bali Starling Eco-warriors that are passionate about protecting Bali Starlings and their environment.