C-A-P Education Program for Children Sweeps through Indonesian Schools

C-A-P Education Program for Children Sweeps through Indonesian Schools

Aug 6, 2009

Notes from the Field

We have lots of great news to share with you in this issue!

An update on the Cacatua sulphurea abbotti …

News from our Conservation, Awareness & Pride program…

And what’s going on with our fall Paradise Expedition to Papua!


C-A-P Education Program for Children Sweeps through Indonesian Schools

A Tribute to the Work of Dudi Nandika and Dwi Agustina

In our C-A-P Program, age-appropriate “fun” games and tools are used to teach children about parrots, their vulnerability to extinction, and the concepts of conservation. These include PowerPoint slide shows and DVDs about cockatoos and other parrots, taking students on bird-watching outings, in order to experience the thrill of seeing wild birds; provision of stickers for school notebooks and of t-shirts, which prominently feature pictures of the cockatoo endemic to that area, along with conservation-directed slogans; and the production and distribution, in prominent locations, of of large, anti-smuggling posters. Big smiles prevailed as schoolchildren, such as the one in the photo above, fill in the coloring book written and printed by IPP and KKI.

While a group of children in the C-A-P program were bird watching, they got a glimpse of a baby Rose-breasted parakeet (Psittacula alexandri alexandri, an endangered parrot) in a nesthole.

The C-A-P Program has been administered in two very divergent parts of the Indonesian archipelago: Maluku [Seram and Ambon] in the East, where many of the parrots or cockatoos are actually trapped; and the area in and around the central city of Jakarta in the west, where many of the infamous Bird Markets are located. Maluku is very poor and parrots have traditionally represented only a source of income to the trappers; Jakarta is one of the most affluent areas in Indonesia, wherein buying and owning an exotic [and illegal] parrot is a sign of prestige, power, and wealth.

The program in the Jakarta region is administered by Dudi Nandika (Field Director) and Dwi Agustina (Assistant Field Director) who also play a prominent role as Founders and Board Members of Konservasi Kakatua Indonesia (KKI), the sister NGO of IPP. The program in Maluku is run by Leonardo Sahuburua and Hendrik Maruanaya.

Dudi and Dwi have received enthusiastic acceptance, along with remarkable penetration of the C-A-P Program into schools in the Jakarta area and more recently on the islands of Masakambing and Masalembu , home of the highly endangered abbotti subspecies of Lesser Sulpur-crested cockatoo (discussed in detail elsewhere in this issue).

Dudi and Dwi (center rear) with a class of kindergarteners.

To date, the C-A-P Program has been brought to at least 69 schools. Five different grade levels of student were reached: Pre-school (kindergarten]; Elementary ; Junior High School; Senior High School; and University. At least 5638 students have participated. More than 120 students thus far have gone bird-watching.

The school outings went to 12 different venues, and over 120 different species of birds were spotted and identified. In addition, many students were present at the release of rehabilitated parrots back into the wild on Seram Island, thereby witnessing conservation in action, in the field. Nearly 2200 students answered a questionnaire both before and after participation in the C-A-P Program to objectively assess any changes in their thinking about parrots. Remarkable improvements in the understanding of virtually every area were noted at the conclusion of the C-A-P Program in each geographic area.

As impressive as these results are when analyzed objectively, they fail to convey the most important indices that we are making progress in changing the way that these children view “their” parrots: that is , the gratifyingly high levels of enthusiasm ; the heart- warming smiles on their faces, the laughter, as they participate; the awe and wonder in their faces as they see parrots through binoculars for the first time, and their eagerness for the program to continue. They are the future of birds in Indonesia!


Major Progress in Project Abbotti

Help for the World’s Rarest Cockatoo

The Yellow- crested (or Lesser Sulphur-crested) cockatoos are split into four subspecies: citronocristata or the Citron-crested; the nominate race sulphurea ; parvula; and abbotti. The abbotti subspecies of Cacatua sulphurea has received very little study (none in the past decade). In the wild, it exists solely on tiny (5 km² ) Masakambing Island in the Masalembo Archipelago, in the remote Java Sea north of Surabaya and Bali .

Our sister NGO Konservasi Kakatua Indonesia , led by Dudi Nandika and Dwi Agustina, working in concert with The Indonesian Parrot Project, carried out a census of the entire island in 2008. This survey revealed that only 10 individuals (4 mated pairs plus two juveniles) survived in the wild. In 2009, a repeat census (partially funded by our partners, the Loro Parque Fundacion) found only 8 individual cockatoos.

This catastrophic decline –from hundreds if not thousands of birds at the start of the century-is attributable in part to major loss of habitat . However the wild bird trade has played, and continues to play, a significant role. Yet no local laws prevented the trapping or smuggling of the “Masakambing cockatoo”, which has reached the brink of extinction.

On May 14, 2009, a major step was taken when the Village Head of Masakambing, along with representatives of the local government and police, signed the first local law designed to protect the remaining cockatoos. It was entitled : “Concerning the Protection of the Yellow-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea abbotti) and their habitat.” Essentially this law bans all trapping, smuggling or selling of the cockatoo , its parts, or its nests, and provides some protection for key cockatoo habitat. It is encouraging that stiff penalties are laid out for offenders.

Other important milestones were achieved by KKI & IPP during these expeditions. These included:

1. The acquisition of significant ecological knowledge regarding the breeding, feeding, daily activities, and habitat of this cockatoo; and

2. The institution, in some of the local schools, of our Conservation-Awareness-Pride [C-A-P] Program, similar to the ones already operative in Java (Jakarta) and Maluku (Seram and Ambon). The goals of the CAP Program are to nurture a paradigm shift in the pride and value invested in these birds, and to instill in the younger generations the concepts of extinction vs. conservation.

Won’t you join us in this great adventure to conserve the rarest and most endangered cockatoo-indeed one of the rarest birds -on earth? If you wish to donate to the Abbotti Project, please send your donations to our CFO Maggie Sichel-Pinatelli, Indonesian Parrot Project, 1417 Deer Lane, Sebastopol, CA 94572 and mark on the check “Project Abbotti”.

Thank you for your continued support.


2009 Paradise Eco-Expedition

Palm Cockatoo

Our 2009 Expedition this November has four very excited adventurers. We have room for two more people and invite you to join us.

In the fall issue of NFTF we will provide you with some first-hand accounts from our expedition team members.

For more information please visit our website. We have an expedition briefing and other materials that you can download.

Or feel free to contact our Eco-Tour Director, Bonnie Zimmermann at bzimmerbird@gmail.com.

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