The Jakarta Post, Bogor. Conservationists and forest rangers officially opened a eagle conservation center at Gunung Halimun Salak National Park on Tuesday.
As many as 12 eagles, previously treated at the Center of Animal Conservation in Cikananga, Sukabumi, were transferred to the park in Bogor.
Some will receive more treatment before being released into the wild, while the rest will remain at the park.
Bambang Supriyanto, the head of Halimun Park, said the national park was the best place to assure the survival of the eagles because it was one of the largest national parks on Java.
“Eagles fly up to two or three kilometers at a time. The 113,357-hectare national park is large enough for them to fly free,” he said.
The transferred eagles are of different species, namely the ular bido eagle (Spilomis cheela), Java eagle (Spizaetus bartelsi), black eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis) and paria eagle (Milvus migrans).
There are three different cages for the eagles at the rehabilitation center: the rehabilitation cage for eagles about to be released into the wild, the transit cage and the display cage for wounded eagles.
Cikananga center spokesman Budiharto said four of the 12 eagles would be put in the rehabilitation cage, one in the transit cage and the remaining seven in the display cage.
“As a wildlife activist, I am overjoyed to finally relocate these eagles to the conservation center after years of treatment, so they can be rehabilitated before being released into the forest.”
Budiharto said there were around 50 eagles left at the Cikananga center. Some of the eagles were confiscated by authorities from bird markets and some were voluntarily handed over by residents from Jakarta, Bogor, Sukabumi and Bandung.
“We will be relocating more eagles to the Tangkuban Perahu Nature Park (Bandung) in the near future.”
The park has installed surveillance cameras in all of the cages and have asked residents to help the park authorities monitor the birds to prevent theft.
“The eagles are important for balancing nature. And given the poor economic conditions of the area, we will purchase guinea pigs from residents to be used as food for the eagles,” Bambang said.
Park rangers are teaching nearby residents how to raise guinea pigs. The park will buy the guinea pigs from them using public funds.
The executive director of Indonesian Environment Information Center (PILI), Pam E. Minnigh, said the existence of eagles in a forest indicated that the habitat was in good condition.
“Java eagles come from Java. They are a unique species and can be used as an icon for communities in Java,” Minnigh said.
The official opening was attended by the center’s partners: the Cikananga center, International Animal Rescue, Raptor Conservation Society, PILI, Mata Elang, Raptor Indonesia (RAIN), Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA), PT Chevron Geothermal Salak and Gunung Pangrango National Park.
[Source: thejakartapost.com | Theresia Sufa ]