Papua’s Endemic Animals Back to Their Natural Habitat

July 2021 was not an easy month for all of us, especially for WRC Jogja. The soaring number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has also affected the activities we have planned. In usual years, we are very busy with school group programs, but this year all activities involving students from abroad had to be temporarily suspended due to the prolonged pandemic.

There are several programs that run with strict health protocols. Such as acceptance of internship students and volunteers, rescue of eagles, release of owls and also we keep in dealing with animals until we have succeeded in translocation program to Papua and several other activities.

June 2021 to mid-July 2021, we have internship students from the Faculty of Biology, ITB (Bandung). They brought up several ideas to conduct observations, and most of them observed animal behavior.

Not long after the internship program took place, we also had a local volunteer from West Java. This undergraduate volunteer will continue the studies in the Netherlands and focus more on studying animal welfare. So that she participated in a volunteer program to understand more deeply about the world of wildlife.

In early July, we received a Crested Goshawk Eagle. This handover was carried out after the owner participated in the Wildlife Education Program conducted between WRC Jogja and Angkringan Conservation, Brawijaya University. After following the webinar regarding the awareness of the prohibition of keeping wild animals, the owner decided to bring the animals to WRC Jogja. All types of eagles in Indonesia are protected animals.

Currently, the delivered eagle has completed the rehabilitation program and has been moved to a larger cage. Next we will put the eagle in the habituation cage, monitoring the skills to survive in the wild. If all goes well then we will immediately release it in its habitat.

Previously a month ago, we also received Owls (Tyto Alba) delivery from the local fire department which is found by the vilagers nearby and immediately took it to WRC Jogja. Initially there were 4 owlets that were handed over, but one of them couldn’t survive after one day of arrival. We called them three owls with named Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles. After we took care of them for two months, this month, on July, they are finally eligible to be released. They can fly well and are able to hunt their own prey.

We released the three owls in the WRC Jogja area because it is their habitat. Sure, we’ll miss them, but these are the best things about flying free in the wild. So happy they finally got back to nature.

The proudest moment for us was to return 3 animals back to Papua. In the framework of the National Nature Conservation Day 2021, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry program was held “Living in harmony with nature. Preserving State-Owned Wildlife” project, 55 native Papuan animals were returned from several rescue centres. We participated in sending three animals that were entrusted to us, namely 2 Cassowaries (Casuarius Casuarius) and 1 New Guinea Crocodile (C. novaeguineae). They are have completed the rehabilitation program and are ready to be released back into the wild.

We also carried out very thorough preparations, such as conducting health checks, taking blood and feather samples, also morphometry. From all these checks, all animals were declared eligible and together with BKSDA Jogja and BKSDA Papua, we were successfully translocate them. We always wish the best for the animals that have returned to their habitat.

Donations and ongoing adoption programs for animals are our hope to survive even though we have not been able to meet all operational needs. We hope that in the future the adoption program for animals can increase in number so that we can provide sufficient enrichment for animals.

All of our activities are carried out in accordance with standard health procedures. Safety standards for animals and all teams involved are also carried out. Even though the situation has not improved, we always believe and continue to do our best for the animals at WRC Jogja.

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