The Endangered and endemic Flores Scops-owl Otus alfredi, which seems to prefer near-inaccessible forests on steep hillsides on the Indonesian island of Flores, has only ever been recorded on a handful of occasions.
Just a few people have ever seen or even heard this small, red, forest owl, but on October 19th 2010 a team from Dansk Ornitologisk Forening (DOF, the Danish BirdLife partner) found a pair of Flores Scops-owl deep within Flores’ Mbeliling Forest in an area called Cunca Lolos.
The team, photographer Jens Kristian Kjaergaard and journalist Ole Friis Larsen (both from DOF) along with local forest caretaker Alfons Andi and biologist Langgeng Arif Utomo from Burung Indonesia (the BirdLife partner in Indonesia), managed to photograph one of the owls. It is probably only the second time in history that anyone has succeeded in photographing a Flores Scops-owl.
In this podcast I talk with Thomas Lehmberg, Senior International Advisor with DOF, and with Ole Friis Larsen, one of the men who found the Flores Scops-owl. The discussion centres on the DOF project in Flores, and the impact that ‘staking out‘ one of the world’s rarest birds could have on regional eco-tourism.
Disclaimer: This podcast has been produced by Talking Naturally to support conservation. No fees or benefits of any kind have been charged or accepted by Talking Naturally. Bandwidth costs for this podcast are sponsored by Digital Spring.
The BirdLife Denmark project in Mbeliling has three aims: to empower the local people living around the forest to e.g. negotiate a better public service provision by the West Manggarai District (e.g. roads, health clinics etc.); to ensure a higher income from small enterprises, improved farming methods, fruit, timber and other wood product trees planting, micro-finance schemes etc.; and finally conservation in the form of a democratic and participatory management plan, increased knowledge on endemic species, low-key monitoring through a partnership of teams with local village monitors and District Forestry Services staff.
At present there are nine village groups in collaboration with District Forestry Services that carry out surveys every three months. They record all signs of human activity (collection of medicinal plants and bark, snares for hunting, stumps from building pole collection, signs of firewood collection etc.), mammal tracks and signs as well as selected bird species.
Jens Kristian Kjaergaard and Ole Friis Larsen were sent to Flores by BirdLife Denmark to report on the project.
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