MITCHELL'S LORIKEET CONSERVATION PROJECT

Mitchell’s Lorikeet

Another program that Begawan Foundation believes is an urgent and important one, and that we have already commenced, assisted by World Parrot Trust, is the Mitchell’s Lorikeet (Trichoglossus forstens mitchellii) conservation project. This sub species is extinct in Bali and most likely in Lombok. Although some bird watchers have suggested that the Mitchell's Lorikeet has been extinct in Bali since 1984, neither the government nor any other institution has taken significant action to safeguard its future or reintroduce it to Bali. We are involving a few new players in this project and we will need more support if we are to succeed in reintroducing this bird. 

Parrots are among the rarest birds on Earth. The Trichoglossus genus is a unique group, with species ranging throughout Indonesia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia, as well as much of northern and eastern Australia. The Mitchell's Lorikeet is the most westerly distributed of the entire lorikeet family and historically has been found only on the Indonesian islands of Lombok and Bali. 

In recent decades, capture for the pet trade has eliminated the wild birds from the island of Bali, and has left populations of Mitchell's on Lombok very low, possibly with only tens of individuals remaining. Despite its Near Threatened listing by IUCN 3.1, the birds on Lombok are currently unprotected, if there are any. In the past, the birds have been found in high numbers in bird markets, especially in Bali. Its recent disappearance from local bird markets, and replacement by a 'lookalike' Forsten's Lorikeet from neighboring Sumbawa, are likely indicative of its increasingly rare status in the wild.
 

The World Parrot Trust (WPT) and Begawan Foundation are two organizations dedicated to immediate and long-term conservation efforts. In over 25 years the WPT has aided 66 species of parrots in 42 countries, making possible research, conservation, and education programs. Indonesia-based Begawan Foundation since 2001 has an established history of effective bird conservation work, most notably in breeding and released the Critically Endangered Bali Starling. The foundation plans to use its knowledge and experience with the Bali Starling to apply the same methodology to saving the indigenous Mitchell's Lorikeet, as well as furthering island-wide conservation efforts.

The ongoing recovery of the Mitchell's Lorikeet population presents challenges related to local governance, the conservation status of the species, and limited local access to founder stock within Indonesia with which to create pairs for breeding and release.

Begawan Foundation’s captive stock of Mitchell’s Lorikeets unfortunately declined in numbers while in Nusa Penida, with a total of 10 returning to the site at Sibang from the total of 16 in 2009. A new program to breed the Mitchell’s Lorikeets was started in 2014, with the construction of new enclosures, supported by WPT. The remaining Mitchell’s Lorikeets are now at the breeding site in Melinggih Kelod, and the foundation is working with both the World Parrot Trust and Bali Bird Park to organise the Import of new bloodlines from the UK, as it is seen as essential to developing a large and genetically diverse flock that can be released at a later date at protected sites.

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