Saturday, May 16, 2009

Protection For The Maleo Bird

Life's a beach ... the chicken-sized maleo now lives exclusively on Sulawesi island. Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society/AP

Inroads are being made into the conservation of some of the lesser-known endangered species on this planet.

One of these lesser-known endangered species is the Maleo bird shown in the picture above. The amazing Maleo is able to fly immediately after hatching from eggs buried beneath the tropical sand. The chicks struggle to the sand’s surface and can fly with no encouragement or training from the parents.

Maleos are chicken-sized birds that have a prominent black helmut-like forehead: reminiscent of the dinosaurs, I feel. In the wild, this species numbers somewhere 5,000 – 10,000; but, can only be found on Sulawesi Island in Indonesia. They rely on sun-baked sand or volcanically-heated soil to incubate their eggs.

The US-based Wildlife Conservation Society said it has teamed up with a local environmental group to purchase and protect a 14-hectare (36-acre) stretch of beach in northern Sulawesi that contains about 40 nests. The groups paid $12,500 for the beach-front property on Sulawesi, one of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands.

"The protected area is already helping raise awareness about this bird," said John Tasirin, WCS programme coordinator on the island. He added that one of the greatest threats to the Maleos’ survival is none other than mankind. The natives often harvest the eggs shortly after being laid and use them as an important source of protein for both themselves and their families.

The Maleo lays a gigantic egg for its size and the chicks emerge able to defend and/or fend for themselves the moment their beaks break the surface of the sand. This again is reminiscent of the dinosaur to me.

"The population of maleos are decreasing quite steadily," Martin Fowlie of the UK-based BirdLife International said of their new white-sand beach. "So any protection is going to be a good thing."

The following video is not of a Maleo bird; but, of a mutant budgie that was born in New Zealand. You have to see this guy. So without further ado, here's Whipper, the mutant budgie.

1 comment:

kathi said...

Still can't see videos but can on other sites - haven't had time to follow your directions, my flash, etc. are up to date, so.... since you're so good about providing links I can see architecture on their site and searched for mutant budgie. Here are some other links with photos if anyone else wants to see and is having same problem. Also has more info on the mutation: