Action Sampiri: Sangihe & Talaud conservation project

Jon Riley

Building on their 1995 surveys on the islands of Talaud and Sangihe in Indonesia, the team returned in 1996 to initiate a conservation programme for the endangered Red-and-blue Lory (Eos histrio) and undertook further research on the islands' endemic avifauna. Fieldwork in 1996 provided a more detailed analysis of the status, distribution and ecological requirements of the globally threatened species, complemented by an assessment of the extent of and threats to their forest habitats. This facilitated the development of an integrated conservation plan to assist with the long-term survival of the islands' endemic avifauna and key habitats. A preliminary investigation was made into methods to alleviate trapping of the Lory. An education programme was initiated to provide local people with information on the islands' ecology and threatened wildlife, placing particular emphasis on the Red and Blue Lory. This included the establishment of a temporary Project Sampiri office and distribution of visuals such as 30,000 stickers, and 1,000 posters and a bird booklet.

Project update: 15/10/97. The Action Sampiri project is a joint initiative by researchers and educators from the University of York and the University of Leeds, and the Universitas Ratulangi in Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia. The team’s Conservation Education Project raised awareness of the endemic birds and their forest habitat on the Sangihe and Talaud islands of north Sulawesi, focusing on the endangered Red-and-Blue Lory (Eos histrio), whose local name is burung Sampiri. This species is now confined to the island of Karakelang, Talaud, and is immediately threatened with extinction in the wild due to unsustainable trapping for the bird trade. In addition, biological surveys of the birds and mammals were conducted. A follow-up project has subsequently been awarded the BP Follow-up award and returned to the area in 1998-1999. This undertook an integrated conservation awareness and research project, targeting the endangered parrots of Sanghe and Talaud. The team recently discovered a species of cuscus (Phalangeridae) new to science (K. Gotto verbally 1999). They also rediscovered the Caerulean Paradise-flycatcher (Eutrichomyias rowleyi) in October 1998 - previously it was not reported for 20 years and feared to be extinct and is among the rarest birds in Indonesia. Before its rediscovery it lacked a local name, but has been named "Burung Niu" in honour of its finder. They have also strengthened links with the local governments of Sanghe and Talaud and continue to work closely with the village communities and local forest department

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