Begawan Foundation was launched with a mission to give back to the people of Bali through conservation, education, and health. The Bali Starling Conservation project, which commenced in 1999, was the foundation’s first initiative. The project aims to reintroduce the highly endangered bird species back into its wild habitat.
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What We Do
For almost twenty years, Bali-based NGO Begawan Foundation has worked hard to bring the critically endangered Bali Starling back from the brink of extinction. Pairs of these critically endangered birds are highly sought after by collectors and highly valued on the black market. Poaching from the wild of free-flying birds to be sold in the bird trade remains the biggest threat to the Bali Starling’s future existence.
Between 1999 and 2005, the Foundation’s captive population grew from four to 97 birds, and in total, between the years 2005 and 2012, around 80 Bali Starlings were released into the wild. However, attempts at establishing free flying populations have failed because released birds have been trapped and there has been no accountability by local villages.
The Foundation has therefore decided to work closely with the local community in one village and provide education for students, in order to succeed in its conservation efforts.
Headquartered in Melinggih Kelod Village, north of Ubud, the Foundation has also concentrated its programs in this Village. A community-based conservation program began in the village in late 2017, providing locals with the opportunity to breed Bali Starlings, and to be able to release offsprings within two years, and again in subsequent years. It is also envisaged that the community will be responsible for their safety in the wild through serious monitoring and village traditional law enforcement. Twenty local and passionate breeders were carefully chosen, and each now fosters a breeding pair supplied by the Foundation.
Along with the community-based conservation program in Melinggih Kelod Village, the Foundation’s Breeding and Release Centre has been relocated and is now centred in Banjar Begawan, one of the districts in the Village. This centre is open to all breeders, the local community, and the general public. A socialization enclosure houses juvenile birds, as well as birds planned for release. Breeding pairs are housed in their own enclosures, and will be available to local breeders
Involvement with the local student community is just as significant as the contact with the adults in the community, and the breeding and release program is complemented by 10-week programs in local schools and after-school programs in Melinggih Kelod and Sibang, a village southern of Ubud. These programs aim to educate students on the importance of conservation and environmental protection. With a motto of ‘Learning by Doing’, the Foundation encourages students to express their own ideas and opinions and take an active part in tackling local environmental issues, one of which is tackling the problem of waste.
From reaching one class in one school in one village in 2015, the Foundation made presentations in 13 schools in 2017, reaching around 2,000 students. By May 2018, the staff have taught in 42 classes in 25 schools in 7 villages. The presence of staff in local schools resulted in the formation of a group of Bali Starling Eco-warriors in Melinggih that are passionate about protecting Bali Starlings and their environment.
With the presence of the breeding centre, the community-based conservation program, and the education programs, support and awareness from locals may assist all those involved to reach the mutual goal of conserving and strengthening the endangered bird’s population in the wild.
Where We Work
Village of Melinggih Kelod, Payangan, north of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
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Featured image: Begawan Foundation