| Oct 16, 2023
Masakambing Island | 2023 October
Masakambing Island and the Abbotti Cockatoos
Masakambing is a tiny island in the middle of the Java Sea, part of the Masalembu Archipelago and home to less than 700 people. It can only be reached by ferry from Sumenep at the mainland, which takes about 15 hours. A subspecies of the Critically Endangered Yellow-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea abbotti) only lives on this single island. In the early 2008, our project started to study this population and facilitated a legally-binding conservation effort (in a Village Role or Peraturan Desa) among the villagers, which enforces zero trapping and has been very successful. The cockatoos have steadily fought their way up to 22 individuals by 2018 and their numbers have been gradually increasing since.
Cultivations and mangroves dominate the landscape of this flat island as the last habitat for this subspecies. All land in Masakambing is owned by the local community. Logging and plant harvesting can lead to deficiency of nest hollows and food sources for the cockatoos, and are considered the greatest threats to the birds. Hence, it is imperative to preserve trees and plant new ones to provide food, nesting, and roosting sites for the birds. This conservation effort has been encouraged by the Indonesian Parrot Project in partnership with thelocal community.
Thanks to your support, we were able to participate in the Focus Group Discussion for Action Plan of the Cacatua sulphurea abbotti on the 9th of October in Pohon Inn, Jatim Park, organized by BKSDA East Java. Other stakeholders also attended the meeting, including the Indonesian Government (Deputy Regent of Sumenep, Bappeda Sumenep, DLH Sumenep), Ministry of Forestry (management authority), BRIN (scientific authority), universities, NGOs, members of the Masakambing community, breeders, zoos, conservationists, journalists, and we all agreed to take priority actions for saving this subspecies. In order to reach a long-term impact, the strategy is to conserve the ecosystem function and increase the cockatoo population while considering livelihood approaches for the local community.
Thanks to the previous work of the Indonesian Parrot Project, the local community is already aware and proud of their cockatoo population, which is key to fund a long-term program in Masakambing. In a community development approach we can increase livelihood in the Masakambing community while decrease extinction risk for the cockatoos. This conservation awareness message can spread to other communities and describe the success of this program. We work directly with these communities that coexist with the cockatoos and their habitat at the grassroots level. Creating means of sustainable income for the local people by providing them employment can also mitigate illegal trapping, trading, and logging.
Thank you as always for your continuous support and please feel free to share our work with others!
Dwi Agustina and other participants of the meeting