The Bali myna is almost entirely white with long head plumes and black wing-tips. Endemic to Bali where it formerly ranged across the north-west third of the island, the species was never very widely distributed. Unsustainable, illegal trapping in response to worldwide demand for the cage-bird trade has driven this bird to virtual extinction in the wild.
Although the wild population is now confined to a national park, mismanagement and lack of enforcement have plagued conservation efforts.
The Begawan Foundation has led an introduction programme on Nusa Penida island, where individuals raised under human care are released. By the end of 2009, 65 birds had been released at Nusa Penida and as of 2011, at least 62 chicks had reportedly fledged.
But even these birds are not spared by trappers. A 2015 audit by staff of Begawan Foundation and Wildlife Reserves Singapore on Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan found only 12 adults and a possible 2 birds in nests.
With the wild population at such a critically low level, other threats include genetic erosion, competition with other species, natural predation and disease, which are further compounded by habitat loss.
In a last-ditch attempt to save the Bali myna, a government scheme allows locals to get ‘breeding loans’ of birds already under human care. They can sell the offspring commercially if they give a small number to the national park. Some 126 birds have been released.
Together, we protect wildlife
Breeding and release
We support the Begawan Foundation in a five-year collaboration to breed and release the species into the wild. Besides assisting in an audit of the species on the release sites, our team has also provided veterinary advice and capacity-building at the Foundation’s Sibang Breeding and Release Centre.