Post-release Behavior and Movements of the Bali Mynah


The Bali Mynah is critically endangered, with only 34 birds left in the wild. Without supplementing the wild population, the species is likely to go extinct on Bali in the near future. Using captive Bali Mynahs, we will release birds into native habitat and assist them in their transition to the wild. The information gained from this conservation project will advance the science of reintroducing zoo-bred animals to the wild and has direct applications to planned captivereleases of endangered forest birds in Hawaii, the Caribbean, South America and Africa.


Captive propagation of endangered species and reintroduction into native habitats is a management technique that is integral to the Species Survival Plans (SSP) developed by zoological parks and various governmental agencies (Temple 1978, Scott 1987). Usu a II y reserved as a preservation effort of last resort, captive propagation can "buy time" for an endangered species, allowing implementation of more long-term conservation techniques. If captive-bred birds are to be successfully released, life history and behavioral aspects must be addressed (Wiley et al. 1992). For example, group size for social species may be essential for successful foraging and mate selection. Additionally, a period of pre-release physical conditioning and behavioral training may be required (Wiley et al. 1992).

For small to medium sized birds, however, relatively few studies have focused on these aspects (Ferguson et al. 1991). The behavioral transitions that a captive bird must make from life in an aviary to the wild are little known, but likely profound. Background and Justification The Bali Mynah Leucopsar rotbscbildi is critically endangered and the only endemic bird found on the island of Bali. With white plumage and mask of naked blue skin, the Bali Mynah is regarded as the world's most stunning representative of the Sturnidae family (King 1978). Referred to by a variety of common names including Bali Mynah, Bali Starling, Rothschild's Mynah, or jalak putih as it is known by the Balinese, this handsome bird was declared the provincial symbol of the island in 1989 (ICBP 1992).

Historically, populations were believed to be confined to dry savanna forest habitat in the northwest section of the island (ICBP 1992). Currently, the wild population is in decline with approximately 34 individuals located in a small section of native dry savanna forest, within Bali Barat National Park on the west end of the island (van Balen 1993).

Individuals are easily maintained in captivity...



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