THE BRAHMINY KITE – JAKARTA’S SYMBOL UNDER THREAT!
The key aim of this project is to save the Brahminy Kite, Also known as the Red-backed Sea Eagel or ‘Elang Bondol’ in the Indonesian Language. The Brahminy Kite, The proud symbol of Jakarta, Is a sea bird and was once abundant but has now completely vanished from the greater Jakarta area due to the illeget trade.
In November 2004, a Rehabilitation Program for the Brahminy Kite was established in collaboration with the Thousand Islands National Park.
The project has a number of key strategies including:
- Monitoring and enforcement of laws relating to the illegal trade in raptors within Jakarta;
- Raising awareness about nature conservation within the Thousand Islands National Park and Jakarta; and
- Rescue and rehabilitation of the Brahminy Kite.
The project is based on two islands – Kotok Island and Penjaliran Barat Island all within the famous ‘Thousand Islands National Park’ or ‘Pulau Seribu’ in the Jakarta province.
Key Government Aims & Indonesian Species Conservation
The effort of conservation for Fauna and Flora species from the Indonesian Government have been registered under the National law, No. 5 1990, concerning Natural Resources Conservation.
Although all Flora and Fauna species protected under this law are not allowed to be traded or kept (dead or alive) .. Sadly, many animal species can still be found traded, quite openly in many cases, in Indonesia. This project links directly to this legislation and will provide a framework for enhanced conservation efforts and law enforcement.
The Brahminy Kite Background Information
The Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus), Also known as the Red-backed Sea Eagel or ‘Elang Bondol’ in the Indonesian Language, consists of four sub-species – H.i.Indus, H.i. Intermedius, H.i. Girrenera, and H.i. Flavirostris. It is a protected species in Indonesia and was adopted as the official symbol of the Jakarta province in 1995.
Although listed as protected in Indonesia, the population has declined. While the Brahminy Kite was once found throughout Indonesia, this spectacular and valuable species is disappearing from some areas. Surveys of rural Javanese people of at least 40 years of age suggest that the species has become rare throughout the Island and only a tiny population remains scattered very widely throughout the archipelago. Thousand Islands National Park in Jakarta used to have a large population of Brahminy Kites, but today the Brahminy Kite has nearly vanished from the area. The drastic decline of the species can be attributed to loss of habitat and illegal hunting for the cage-bird trade. Without re-introduction and habitat restoration, this wonderful species will soon be extinct from their native habitat!
Brahminy Kite/Raptor Rescue and Rehabliltation Program
Re-introduction and habitat restoration are strategic measures to ensure the long-term survival of the Brahminy Kite population and promote conservation awareness. The release program for the Brahminy Kite in Indonesia is an important model that provides a framework that can be replicated to develop other re-introduction efforts of the endangered species of Indonesia.
Driving public awareness is a key part of the program, and to this end work includes public readings, school visits, bird watching activities and engaging locals to be involved in the program to conserve the wildlife.
The program closely follows the IUCN guidelines of species re-introduction, ensuring a high quality program that stands up internationally.
Importantly, the local community is engaged in the program with local people employed in a variety of roles to maintain the long-term conservation and management of the Brahminy Kite. Public awareness and local involvement is carried out to enhance the long-term survival of the species in Thousand Islands National Park.
Pramuka Island used to be named ‘Pulau Elang’, meaning ‘Raptor island’, but in the beginning of the 20th century, no Kite could be found anymore and the name of the island was changed.
At present, thanks to the re-introduction program, Pulau Pramuka can again be called Pulau Elang.
Brahminy Kite Rescue & Rehabilitation Aims
- To rescue and rehabilitate Brahminy Kite and enhance the long-term survival of the species
- To develop public conservational awareness and encourage local community support and economic benefit; and
- Promotions of sustainable environmental management partnerships between civil society organizations, local and central government agencies.
The Rehabilitation facilities are kept at Pulau Kotok Besar, in the southern region of Kepulauan. At this site, the focus is on tourism and education activities. This site has perfect vegetation for Brahminy Kites, including abundant fish and a coral reef system in good condition. JAAN also works on the preservation of the reef.
If you want to read more about other projects that are currently running at Kotok Island, Click here.
What JAAN has accomplished so far
Thirty nine birds have moved through the rehabilitation program and been released to date. All birds have been obtained through confiscations from the illegal trade circuit or found in distress.
After a quarantine period the birds are relocated to the rehabilitation site on Kotok island.
On August 8, 2005, the first groups of eight Brahminy Kites were successfully released. The post-release monitoring team consisted of thirteen volunteers from the National University, Jakarta. The program welcomes volunteers to assist us with post-release activities.
All released Brahminy Kites are been tagged with wing markers in order to follow them after release. Microchips are inserted subcutaneous to identify the individuals. Although it would be optimal to have radio transmitters to follow the birds after release. 32 birds are currently still undergoing rehabilitation.
We were lucky enough to receive official recognition of our Raptor Rescue & Rehabilitation Program by the current Indonesian President himself! To read all about it, click here!