The Eagle Conservation Society (PSE) will reintroduce a brontok, or changeable hawk-eagle, in a forest inside PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia’s (CPI) concession near Pekanbaru.
The reintroduction of the eagle, spizaetus cirrhatus, will be a first for Sumatra.
Gunawan, the coordinator of PSE, which focuses on raptor-based rehabilitation and conservancy education, said the Tahura Muara Fajar protected forest and a forest inside CPI’s site in Rumbai were rejected for the reintroduction.
“Tahura Muara Fajar is definitely not suitable to reintroduce the eagle, as a survey found a natural eagle population there,” Gunawan said.
“The brontok eagle is territorial and will fight other eagles in its territory. We are worried that its safety would be compromised.”
Gunawan said the survey was conducted by PSE along with the Riau chapters of Raptor Indonesia (Rain) and the Environmental Studies Group (KSLH). The survey started on Saturday and will last until the first week of June.
The eagle currently resides in Bogor after it was donated by a Jakarta resident in 2005, Gunawan said.
“We will apply for a permit from the Forestry Ministry to relocate and reintroduce the eagle from Bogor to Pekanbaru,” he said.
He added that CPI’s forest was ideal for reintroducing the eagle, given limited obstructions and threats from humans in the area. The location was also easy to access for post-reintroduction monitoring and had good biodiversity and plenty of food.
Pekanbaru was selected for the reintroduction due to the availability of several institutions willing to fund and monitor the program.
“Reintroducing an eagle with proper procedures is expensive and we do not get any financial support from the government,” said Gunawan.
“After being relocated, the eagle will be kept in a cage for one to two weeks to introduce its new habitat and natural food. After being reintroduced, there will be a monitoring period of between two and three weeks.”
If everything goes well, this will be the eighth eagle being reintroduced to the wild by PSE since 2007. Three Javanese eagles (Nisaetus bartelsi) were released in Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park in West Java, three crested serpent eagles (Spilornis cheela) in Sermo Animal Sanctuary in Yogyakarta, and an alap jambul eagle (Accipiter trivirgatus) at Gunung Salak Halimun National Park in West Java.
Meanwhile, CPI said it supported plans to reintroduce the eagle in Rumbai forest, which is well kept and serves as the “lungs” of Pekanbaru, according to CPI general manager for policy, government and public affairs Usman Slamet.
“Such a program is important because Riau is one of the three routes of eagle migration from South Asia to Indonesia,” he told the Post.
“That is why we support the reintroduction to be carried out in Riau.”
Usman said the energy producer did not feel any burden with the reintroduction program in its operational area while in fact, it would “prove CPI’s commitment to support and keep the environment sustainability.”
CPI and PSE have been working together on eagle conservation programs with other organizations since 2007 and established a raptor sanctuary to rehabilitate eagles in Gunung Halimun Salak National Park.
“The idea is that CPI wants to establish a raptor sanctuary in Riau. The reintroduction program is the starting point,” Usman said. (nvn)