As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Protection flip-flop leaves rare Indonesian shrikethrush in harm’s way

by Petrus RiskiRahmadi RahmadThemmy Doaly on 7 November 2018
The Sangihe shrikethrush is an elusive songbird found only on a single remote island in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province.
The species, which numbers less than 300 in the wild, was one of hundreds granted protected status by the Indonesian government earlier this year.
But the government inexplicably struck it from the list soon after, leaving wildlife activists concerned that the lack of protection will harm efforts to conserve the species.
Activists say one workaround would be to push for protective measures by local authorities.
MANADO, Indonesia — Wildlife photographer Henri Hebimisa remembers the excitement of his first encounter with an elusive songbird inhabiting the montane forest of his hometown in the Sangihe islands of Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province.
“The voice was so loud. I got very excited,” he recalls of the Sangihe shrikethrush (Coracornis sanghirensis), a species also known as the Sangihe whistler.
Henri says he was lucky to see the bird, a species found only in the primary forests of Mount Sahendaruman and Mount Sahengbalira on Sangihe, an island of just 461 square kilometers — smaller than the city of Los Angeles — near the southern Philippines.
He says it took more than 10 treks into the shrikethrush’s habitat before he first encountered the bird. “Camping for one night is not enough,” he says.
While little is known about the species, it’s clear that the wild population is small and declining. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates the current population at fewer than 255, and has since 2000 classified the Sangihe shrikethrush as critically endangered, or a step away from being extinct in the wild.
It’s a species that doesn’t migrate. And as its habitat is lost to logging and plantations, its population has taken a hit.
In light of these conditions, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) recommended the bird be named a protected species, which would oblige the government to prioritize it for conservation. This past June, the Sangihe shrikethrush was one of hundreds of bird species added to Indonesia’s updated list of protected wildlife.
Within months, however, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry issued a decree dropping five bird species from the protected list, including the Sangihe shrikethrush. While some of the birds were removed due to protests from breeders and owners, the decision to drop the shrikethrush has raised plenty of questions.
“This happened because of a lack of knowledge among policymakers,” Samsared Barahama, director of Perkumpulan Sampiri, a wildlife conservation group in North Sulawesi, tells Mongabay Indonesia.
The group campaigns for the protection of Mount Sahendaruman’s biodiversity, and has since 1999 carried out community outreach to raise awareness about the shrikethrush, which was first identified by scientists in 1881.

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