(PRWEB) November 8, 2005 -- The Indonesian Parrot Project - Project Bird Watch in collaboration with Seacology, announces the creation of a 370 Acre Rainforest Heritage zone on Seram Island in the Moluccan ("Spice") Islands of Indonesia. This site, in pristine lowland forest, was set aside by the King of the District of Sawai on North Seram, with the agreement of a wadah or council of village leaders from the two principal villages involved (Masihulan and Sawai) as well as neighboring villages. The site, along with its indigenous fauna and flora, will be protected from all human intervention in order to be enjoyed and appreciated by future generations.
“ That is important to us; these are very wonderful people. ”
In return, Project Bird Watch (with partial funding from Seacology) enacted a series of initiatives to improve the quality of medical care in this economically-disadvantaged region. These included the building of two new medical clinics; provision of non-polluting, solar-powered generator systems coupled both to water purification systems and refrigerators (to help maintain the shelf-life of pharmaceuticals under tropical conditions; providing advanced medical training for the village mantri (nurse practitioners); and the writing of a small manual detailing basic hygiene and sanitary procedures for children and adults. These projects, like all others of Project Bird Watch in Indonesia, were collaborative efforts with the Indonesian NGO Yayasan Wallacea, which is based on nearby Ambon Island and directed by Ceisar Riupassa.
Stewart Metz, Director of Project Bird Watch commented, "Some wildlife conservation programs focus mostly on ways to bring new sources of sustainable income to local peoples to replace their dependence on trapping. We felt that Project Bird Watch could go deeper and earn both the lasting trust and friendship of the Seramese people in bringing some improvements to the village's entire quality of life. That is important to us; these are very wonderful people. At the same time we are making some progress changing their cultural attitudes about the intrinsic value of their spectacular forest and avifauna. In Indonesia, it's called "ganti rugi" a Win-Win situation."
The initial grant contribution from Seacology was for $19,384, but due in part to recent large increases in the cost of materials in nearby Ambon Island following sectarian violence, PBW will likely contribute a similar amount to bring the project to fruition.
Bonnie Zimmermann, Vice President of Project Bird Watch was recently in Seram and witnessed the installation of the solar generators and water purification systems. She said, “During the installation of the solar generator in Masihulan it became obvious how excited the people are about the clinic – the entire village came out to watch us.”
Seacology is the world’s premier nonprofit, nongovernmental organization with the sole and unique purpose of preserving the environments and cultures of islands throughout the globe. Their programs are successful because they are locally managed. Seacology’s motto is “Saving the world, one island village at a time.”
About the Indonesian Parrot Project/Project Bird Watch
The Indonesian Parrot Project/Project Bird Watch is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization with projects on Seram Island in the province of Maluku, and the Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua.
Its mission is to:
Help conserve endangered Indonesian cockatoos and parrots through collaborative work with the Forestry Department in Manusela National park on Seram Island; the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; local police; the network of Wild Animal Rescue Centers throughout Indonesia; but above all, the major stakeholders, the local peoples of the regions
Oversee the management of Kembali Bebas ("Return to Freedom"), a Parrot Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release Center and Sanctuary on the Island of Seram receiving birds confiscated from smugglers, trappers and the illegal pet trade.
Help to provide sustainable income for local villages to reduce trapping and smuggling through its "trappers to wardens program", medical initiatives, eco-tourism, organic farming, and education
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in the schools.
Serve as a source of information about Indonesian parrots and cockatoos
Conduct scientific research to increase knowledge about the wild parrots of Indonesia. Apply this knowledge both to help conserve endangered parrots and to improve the welfare of parrots in captivity using lessons learned from their life in the wild.