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Saving Baliís Starlings

Four More Bali Starlings Released to the Wilds at Sibang Breeding and Release Site

(4/20/2014) Following the initial successful release of Bali Starlings (leocopsar rothschildi) on November 12, 2012, Begawan Foundation has released four more of the highly endangered birds as part of Earth Week Celebrations 2014.

The release took place on April 18, 2014 – a date selected as propitious in accordance with the Bali Hindu calendar.

Attending the release were local community leaders, including I Gusti Ngurah Agung Watusila, the Raja of Sibang, accompanied by local Banjar leaders.

Begawan Foundation
has commenced an educational program on the environment and conservation in local schools, inviting students to the breeding center to observe the Bali Starlings and to assist in preparing their food and feeding them. Further programs are planned at local schools with students encouraged to be directly involved in future releases.

Monitoring of free birds has show that this is sufficient food, water and natural nesting for them to adapt readily to the local habitat. As the birds are flying within the grounds of the Green School, observation is undertaken daily, and has shown that Bali Starlings have no fear of being near buildings and gardens, and, in fact, take advantage of the situation, finding readily available sources of food and shelter.

It is clear that the Bali Starling can survive in any environment that has sufficient food and nesting opportunities as long as they remain unthreatened by humans or other local predators.

Tasya Karissa, Begawan Foundation’s Administrator commented: “Having strong and solid support from local communities is the biggest factor in the success of previous releases. We have been working closely with the local community in Sibang for some time now.”

Based on the success of the 2012 release at Sibang the decision was made to undertake the latest release.

Prior to their release each bird was tagged with colored rings in order to record their movements on a daily basis. Nest boxes placed in large trees provide homes for the released Bali Starlings to lay their eggs and begin a small self-generating flock.

Previously, 65 Bali Starlings bred by Begawan Foundation were released in 2006 and 2007 on Nusa Penida. In 2010, Begawan Foundation brought its remaining captive stock along with their enclosures to set up the Foundation’s new breeding facility at Sibang, next to the Green School campus.

Begawan Foundation’s mission to increase the Bali Starling population in its habitat and to improve genetic diversity was strengthened in 2011 by the return of 20 Bali Starlings from Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and the UK – a project coordinated by the European Zoo Association – together with three birds from the Wildlife Reserves of Singapore. These birds have had their bloodlines mixed with local Bali Starlings to breed birds for future release programs.

For more information www.begawanfoundation.org