Quality tourism development
and exclusive attraction
in Biak Numfor District of Irian Jaya

 

 

PROGRESS REPORT
"BIAK FALCONRY AND RAPTOR CONSERVATION CENTER"

 

"Yayasan Peduli Satwa Lestari"
a join venture with the
Biak Numfor Tourism Services

TECHNICAL ASPECTS
(Translated from Indonesian)

 

 

Unique collection of Birds of Prey

Staff: discovering and training

Premises and equipment

Live food production
Aviaries, pens, perches
Avian medicine
Hawk training gear

Bag game production

Adapted technologies

Maintaining Birds of Prey
Manning and training
Breeding

Supporting conservation
Permits
Tourism

A new, exclusive tourism attraction
Hunting grounds
Blending falconry packages
International promotion

Progress table
Conclusions and advice

 

 

November 2000

 

A representative and outstanding collection of Birds of Prey.

1.1 Background

From a pure tourism development viewpoint, a rich, exclusive collection of impressing birds is a major incentive for western Falconers to visit a remote area as Biak obviously is. An international class Falconry Center should therefore maintain well-trained, fit, powerful, and mostly large birds belonging to a wide range of species, and as far as possible, new to Falconry.

 

Table 1: Ranking of main Raptors groups as
commonly trained by Falconers worldwide

1

XXXXX

Goshawks (shortwings) (Fam. Accipiteridae, Gen. Accipiter)

2

XXXX

Falcons (longwings) (Fam. Falconidae, Gen. Falco)

3

XXX

Hawk-Eagles (Fam. Accipiteridae, Gen. Spizaetus)

4

XX

Eagles (Fam. Accipiteridae, Gen. Aquila)

5

XX

Others - (groups of species rarely used for hunting: Snake-Eagles, Sea Eagles, Buzzard…) (Fam. Accipiteridae)

1.2 BFC work schedule

1. The Goshawks:
Fourteen Goshawk species are found in Indonesia and as much as eight species in Irian Jaya only, which is the world's highest number of species found in a single area. Meyer's and Doria Goshawks, both swift and powerful hunters, are the most potential species for Falconry among all these very attractive small to medium-sized Raptors. Captive Goshawks are rather sensitive birds needing very attentive cares and a tight training schedule to hunt attractively. For these reasons, this group is not a first priority material for a new, developing Falconry project like the BFC.

2. The Falcons:
Large Falcons are mostly found in temperate to cold countries, whereas tropical species are mostly small to medium-size birds. Nine species live in Indonesia, mostly Kestrels and the tiny Falconets; these small birds can hardly be considered for hunting. Up to now, the BFC does not maintain Falcons. However, the popular, cosmopolitan Falco peregrinus (the "Peregrine") also lives in Biak. The unusually large size of this oriental sub-species could well make it quite attractive, and if possibilities arise, the Center could consider maintaining one pair for hunting or breeding.

3. The Hawk-Eagles:
With eleven species, Indonesia is the richest part of the world regarding Hawk-Eagles (Spizaetus and allied). Yet, western Falconers have obtained very few specimens so far, mostly during the sixties. Once trained, all of them proved to be extremely good falconry birds due to their large size, strength, courage and flying abilities. Steady birds, Hawk-Eagles do not call for sophisticated cares. Once manned and trained, they keep tame and used to humans for a very long time.

 

Table 2:  Indonesian Hawk-Eagle and Eagles

Family

Genus

Species

Common name

Distribution

Accipiteridae

 

Ictinaetus

malayensis

Black Eagle

 

W. Indonesia

Hieraaetus

kienerii

Rufous-Bellied Hawk-Eagle

 

W. Indonesia

morphnoides

Little Eagle

IrJa

Maluku

bonelli

Bonelli Eagle

 

W. Indonesia

pennatus

Booted Eagle

 

W. Indonesia

Spizaetus

bartelsi

Javan Hawk-Eagle

 

W. Indonesia

alboniger

Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle

 

W. Indonesia

nanus

Wallace Hawk-Eagle

 

W. Indonesia

lanceolatus

Celebean Hawk-Eagle

 

W. Indonesia

cirrhatus

Changeable Hawk-Eagle

 

W. Indonesia

nipalensis

Hogdson Hawk-Eagle

 

W. Indonesia

Aquila

audax

Wedge-Tailed Eagle

IrJa

 

clanga

Spotted Eagle

 

W. Indonesia

gurneyi

Gurney’s Eagle

IrJa

W. Indonesia

Harpyopsis

novaeguineae

New-Guinea Harpy-Eagle

IrJa

 

As legally importing wild specimens in the West is now quite difficult, Hawk-Eagles are rare and extremely sought after in Falconry circles. This group therefore offers a very good opportunity to the BFC to develop international class, highly attractive Falconry activities in Biak.

Since December 2000, the BFC has obtained eighteen Hawk-Eagle specimens in six species

- Spizaetus cirrhatus (Changeable Hawk-Eagle) - 6 birds
- Spizaetus nanus (Wallace Hawk-Eagle) - 1 bird
- Spizaetus bartelsi (Javan Hawk-Eagle) - 1bird
- Spizaetus lanceolatus (Celebean Hawk-Eagle) - 1 bird
- Spizaetus (Ictinaetus) malayensis (Black Eagle) - 6 birds
- Spizaetus (Hieraaetus) pennatus (Booted Eagle) - 3 birds

To-date, the BFC already houses the world's richest and largest Hawk-Eagle collection. Yet, it must be reminded that three of these species are represented by one single specimen only, and that more birds should be obtained in order to compose breeding pairs.

4. The Eagles:
Eagles (Aquila) are also a very popular group among western Falconers, especially the Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos. However, these species are still poorly represented due to the limited numbers of bred specimens available so far. Irian Jaya offers a very interesting potential with three local species, namely  Aquila gurneyi, Aquila audax and Harpyopsis novaguineae. Up to now, the BFC has obtained one single immature specimen of Aquila gurneyi (Gurney's Eagle) only, trapped in Biak, and we should rapidly gather more young birds, remembering that the local population is quite steady and training rather long.

5. Other groups:
The remaining Raptor species are as a rule less suited for hunting, but many remain quite attractive, impressing birds, or are fast and productive breeders. The BFC has selected two specimens of the large White-Bellied Sea Eagle as demonstration birds, whereas several pairs of the common Brahminy Kite and Snake-Eagle were chosen to boost a successful breeding program.
 

Table 3: Suitability of each Raptor species group at BFC

Species group

Popularity

Demand

BFC opportunity

Realization

Goshawks

XXXX

XX

XXXXXX

0

Falcons

XXX

X

X

0

Hawk-Eagle

X

XXXXX

XXXXXX

XXXXX

Eagles

XX

XXXXX

XXXXX

XX

Other groups

XX

XX

XX

X

 

Table 4: Development of the BFC birds collection

Species group

Family

Genus

Species

English name

 

Stock

Target

Goshawks

Accipiteridae

Accipiter

trivirgatus

Crested Goshawk

 

1

4

soloensis

Chinese Goshawk

IrJa

0

4

badius

Shikra

 

0

0

poliocephalus

Grey-Headed Goshawk

IrJa

0

4

novaehollandiae

White Goshawk

IrJa

0

4

melanochlamys

Alap-2 Punggung Hitam

IrJa

0

0

meyerianus

Meyer’s Goshawk

IrJa

0

4

buergersi

-

IrJa

0

0

cirrhocephalus

-

IrJa

1

3

fasciatus

-

IrJa

0

0

Megatriorchis

doriae

-

IrJa

0

4

Falcons

Falconidae

Falco

moluccensis

Oriental Kestrel

 

0

0

peregrinus

Peregrine Falcon

 

0

2

cenchroides

Alap-2 Irian

 

0

0

Hawk-Eagle

Accipiteridae

 

Ictinaetus

malayensis

Black Eagle

 

6

0

Hieraaetus

kenerii

Rufous-Bellied H-Eagle

 

0

4

morphnoides

Little Eagle

IrJa

0

4

pennatus

Booted Eagle

 

3

1

Spizaetus

bartelsi

Javan Hawk-Eagle

 

1

5

alboniger

Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle

 

0

4

nanus

Wallace Hawk-Eagle

 

1

3

lanceolatus

Celebean Hawk-Eagle

 

1

3

cirrhatus

Changeable Hawk-Eagle

 

6

0

nipalensis

Hogdson Hawk-Eagle

 

0

2

Eagles

Accipiteridae

Aquila

audax

Wedge-Tailed Eagle

IrJa

0

4

clanga

Spotted Eagle

 

0

0

gurneyi

Gurney’s Eagle

IrJa

1

3

Harpyopsis

novaeguineae

Harpy Eagle

IrJa

0

4

Other groups

Accipiteridae

Haliastur

indus

Brahminy Kite

IrJa

7

0

Haliaetus

leucogaster

White-Bellied Sea-Eagle

IrJa

2

0

Spilornis

cheela

Snake-Eagle

 

6

0

Spilornis

kinabaluensis

Kalimantan Snake-Eagle

 

1

1

Most specimens were acquired by the BFC between December 1999 and April 2000. Afterwards unfortunately, internal conflicts leading to financial problems inside the "Yayasan Peduli Satwa Lestari" Foundation hindered more survey and stock development. Three specimens only could be secured, mostly by chance, between April and November 2000: one Gurney's Eagle, one White-Bellied Sea Eagle and one Grey-Headed Goshawk.

Staff selection and training

BFC gives entire priority to the recruitment of Irian Jaya natives.

The following qualities are required:

1. outgoing personality
2. patience and basic skill with animals
3. genuinely concerned to actively develop his/her own region
4. willing to acquire a new work experience and seeking for a stable position
5. creative and caring
6. some manual skills
7. hunting experience whenever possible

Up to now, four employees (three males, one female) have been hired and feel comfortable with both their training schedule and their respective tasks at BFC.
Several natives from the neighboring Nikakam village also take part to the Center's activities, yet with a more irregular schedule. Many locals, who are basically fishermen, are still strongly bound to their traditional life patterns; others attend local schools, or more simply just don't seek for full-timer positions!
The BFC trainees work Dr P. Hoyois' guidance in the field of animal husbandry, health, equipment and construction; Mr. Kris Grootaert is most active in the art of birds training, behavior and preparation to hunting.
It is interesting to note that BFC staff rapidly turned very selective regarding the appointment of new fellow workers. Salaries paid are above the local rate and meals are provided, yet staff keeps reluctant to accept new employees, and all of them prefer to make it up on their own during extra-time.

 

Task distribution is as follow: 

Mariana Rumbekwan

Lab animals care, kitchen.

Barnabas Samaduda

Falconry birds maintenance + training, equipment.

Deni Papilaya

Falconry birds maintenance + training

Yunus Rumaropen

Falconry birds maintenance, equipment.

Main difficulties met with staff training:

- Very poor quality of all workers proposed by the "Yayasan Peduli Satwa Lestari" Foundation (chairman: J RUSTAN). The foundation treasurer without informing the officers-in-charge has even hired a former convict. As could be expected, this employee caused more troubles than progress.
- Poor management by the "Yayasan Peduli Satwa Lestari" Foundation (chairman: J RUSTAN) caused the Center's expert falconer (Mr. Kris Grootaert) to leave for Belgium after one year spent afield. Mr. Grootaert has pointed out that, even with a very promising bird stock, the BFC would never succeed as long as his fieldwork would be depending on a careless management by this Foundation.  

Premises and equipment

3.1 Live-food production tool

Raptors are carnivorous animals.
A proper food supply must be carefully prepared, at reasonable price. A suitable quality diet for Birds of Prey can be achieved with a sustained supply of live or frozen small Mammals or Birds. The lowest costs are achieved with homebred laboratory animals.
The following species can be easily produced in large quantities:
- White rats and mice  (disease-free, high reproduction rate),
- Quails
- Pigeons
- Day-old chicks (DOC)

Up-to-now, the following steps have been achieved

- A sufficient amount of breeders (rats, mice, quails and pigeons) has been imported from Jakarta (Universitas Indonesia Faculty of Medicine),
- An appropriate set of food production tools for small animals has been installed:
- A 1HP mill for corn, soy and rice
- A mechanical press to produce pellets
- Oven
- Breeding cages have been installed:
- Mice cages (aluminum): 24 unit
- Rat cages (built on the spot): 30 unit
- Quail cages: 6 unit
- Pigeon cages: 4 unit

Installation of small animals breeding equipment met the following problems:
- Scarcity of proper material in Irian Jaya. For instance, water pipes for Rodents should be custom-made in stainless steel, which is not available locally. (Rodents concentrate heavy metals mostly in liver, which can easily poison Raptors in a matter of weeks or months)
- Most decisions taken by the Chairman of the "Yayasan Peduli Satwa Lestari" Foundation were mostly based on a concern for private profit. Mismanagement led to a total ignorance for a proper live-food production tool and made the task quite difficult for field staff.

Table 5: Evolution of the BFC live-food production

 

Jan-Mar

April-June

July-Sept

Oct-Nov

Target

Mice

0

3%

3%

3%

4%

Rats

0

0

5%

30%

45%

Quails

0

0

0

0

10%

Pigeons

0

0

0

1%

5%

Day-old-chicks

0

0

0

0

20%

Frozen chicken

89%

86%

81%

55%

5%

Sea Fish

10%

10%

10%

10%

10%

Others

1%

1%

1%

1%

1%

3.2 Adapted premises for Hawk-Eagles

The BFC built seven large aviaries, each with a capacity for one pair of large Hawk-Eagle. Each aviary offers a wide shelter, a bath and several perches.
Weathering grounds can accommodate 18 Hawk-Eagles simultaneously, and were adapted to protect the birds from excessive heath.
Long, steady perches have been installed under shelter at very short distance of the Center's main quarters to get the birds used to people.
The Center has no molting pens so far. These small size aviaries (3x3x2m), in very quite quarters, are used to speed up the birds molt. Unfortunately, due to limitations in natural shelter locally and to mismanagement, construction of the scheduled row of molting pens has not yet been undertaken to-date.

3.3 Medical equipment

- Current vaccine and medication stock is expected to cover all the birds' needs for the next six months.
- BFC's laboratory equipment remains extremely limited (no microscope). It does cover the needs for routine detection of parasites and bacteria.
- Surgical equipment is extremely low as well. Basic bone surgery (osteo-synthesis in case of broken wings or legs) is impossible.

3.4 Training and hunting gear

Due to financial limitations and mismanagement at the "Yayasan Peduli Satwa Lestari" Foundation level, the BFC so far had to work with very limited falconry equipment.
Items already made available:
- Wire under tension (120m)
- Lure winder
- Lures (various models)
- Falconry glove (damaged)
- Ropes (various sizes and quality)
- Two hoods

Items still needed to-date:
- Falconry gloves (various sizes and models)
- Pick-up car. A used vehicle would perfectly meet the simple conditions to regularly carry staff and birds afield for training.
- Telemetry set (material currently used remains Mr. Kris Grootaert's property, who brought it back to Belgium).
- Hoods (various sizes and models)
- Boxes (various sizes and models)

  It must be reminded here that the Center's falconer Mr. Kris Grootaert already supplied a wide choice of falconry tools and equipment in accordance to the Foundation's request. However, this material has not been paid by the Foundation after half a year  Upset, Mr Grootaert brought it back to Belgium. All the missing items are however badly needed and will have to be replaced.

3.5 Bag game production

Many wildlife species, otherwise a quite abundant and traditional game resource in Irian Jaya that also makes up an important part of Raptors diet in the wild, are now protected by a rigid set of international regulations.
Our purpose is not an evaluation of legal protection measures. However, it should strike the observer that a species like the common Scrubfowl, so plentiful in the jungles of Irian Jaya, has been listed as a protected species for Indonesia. Meanwhile, the very same species which also occurs in Hawaii (USA) is not protected.
Besides possible -but time consuming delisting, consideration should be given to farming or ranching of these game species. The need for bag-game for Falconry is indeed comparatively limited, well below the actual consumption of similar quarry for shotgun hunting.
Some of these local game species (Scrubfowl, Bandicoot, Crowned Pigeons and many others) could be easily bred and released in the wild (for hunting or re-population) by the BFC.  However, this effort would need the implementation of a suitable breeding complex.
Up to now, several specimens have been obtained from locals, but no breeding attempt could be done without appropriate pens.

4 Adapted technologies

4.1 Maintaining large Raptors

The basics of maintaining and training Birds of Prey are:
- Proper food and proper food supply
- Proper health control
- Proper management of the Birds' stamina
- Proper management of the Birds' instincts
- Proper selection of hunting birds and breeders
- Proper management of the Birds' feathers

4.1.1 Food and food supply:

Up to now, the BFC didn't meet major problems. The basic amount of raw meat (7% of the body weight daily) could always be supplied, as frozen chicken is easily available in Biak. Comparatively safe because low temperatures reduce the risks of contamination by bacteria, frozen chicken diet is deficient in important elements often globally called "casting". This includes various fibers (feathers, nails, bones) and proteins (liver and heart), which must be added periodically. A diet based on bred small animals is much appropriate to this respect.

4.1.2 Selecting breeders and hunting birds:

Few Birds of Prey can be paired forcefully. Attempting to compose a pair with incompatible specimens can lead to the male (usually weaker) being killed by the female. Breeding birds must be attracted to each other before being released in a breeding pen.
Up to now, three compatible pairs could be isolated out of forty birds; all have shown discrete to sustained signs of activity around the artificial nests prepared for them. However, Raptors breeding needs a very calm environment. The villagers' uninterrupted activities surrounding the BFC location significantly disturb the birds, and possible paring and incubation are unlikely to produce a viable offspring.
Besides these breeding pairs, 10 excellent hunting birds have also been carefully selected so far.

4.1.3 Health control:

Birds of Prey should be protected against Newcastle Disease and the Chronicle Respiratory Disease; such protection has been provided through a comprehensive vaccination plan.
Most common avian diseases often observed in Raptors are Trichomonasis (a globally dangerous mouth infection also called: "Frounce"), Coccidiosis and Salmonellosis. Among Raptors' specific diseases are Sour Crop and Bumble Foot. Up to now, most cases occurring in Biak could be successfully treated.

4.1.4 Stamina:

Maintaining falconry birds, which are usually tethered, at their top physical condition is a major concern of their owners. A proper control on body weight, muscle condition and fat reserves is achieved by daily exercise, training and adapted food intake. A basic tool for body weight monitoring is an accurate digital scale. The task of maintaining the birds in optimal condition can only be trusted to a very experienced falconer.
It should be stressed here that, due to chronicle mismanagement by the "Yayasan Peduli Satwa Lestari" Foundation (Chairman: J RUSTAN) topping the BFC, the purchase of a digital precision scale was delayed until November 5th, 1999!
The fact that the Foundation management board shows little concern for the field staff work schedule should also be taken into consideration, because it has a negative effect on the birds physical condition.
A sad example, J. E. RUSTAN (Foundation Chairman) once confiscated for his own use a US$600 package from the Biak Tourism Service released for the setting up of an "Open Doors" week. As a consequence, the BFC field staff was force to work in very difficult conditions, understaffed and overworked. This caused a very valuable bird (Spizaetus nanus) to die. 

4.1.5 Instincts and psychological condition:

Hunting birds require highly specific, uninterrupted and properly scheduled cares. Merely feeding captive Raptors without giving them a chance to chase and capture living preys will lead to the loss of their basic hunting instinct. We feel extremely sorry that the "Yayasan Peduli Satwa Lestari" management board, diverted by other considerations, never granted any priority to facilitate the important target of preserving the birds' most precious instincts and get them "fit for hunting". The only conditions to fulfill were
- purchase or rent the used pick-up vehicle so badly needed to take the birds to various locations (hunting ground), whereas funding had already been made available expressly for that purpose by government of the Biak-Numfor district.
- Maintaining conducive conditions allowing the BFC field staff to work properly.

4.1.6 Molt

Wild birds usually molt one or two times a year, according to seasons locally. In captivity, molt should be scheduled with precision in order to produce perfect feathers at the right time. Birds expected to molt should be kept in a very quite, medium to small size aviary, and normally fed. Under these conditions, most Raptors molt in less than two months.
BFC built no molting pens so far. Most birds keep molting slowly and keep old feathers overdue. Would they be used for hunting, this condition would greatly impair their performance.

Table 6: Evaluation of main birds maintenance tasks

Task

Value

Food supply

satisfying

Selection of hunting birds and breeders

satisfying

Health control

satisfying

Management of the birds stamina

poor

Management of the birds instincts

extremely poor

Management of the birds feathers (molt)

poor

4.2 Pioneering hawking and eagling in Biak (manning and training)

Up to now, no final result has been achieved in a sense that no bird can be freely taken to the field to hunt.
The first step in training a Hawk is to get the bird used to people (manning). A permanent contact proved to be most useful with Indonesian Hawk-Eagles, a method that doesn't necessarily work well with other species. At this stage, the birds usually develop a strong link between man and food supply.
The next step in training Hawks and Falcons is to bring the bird to come and take the food offered by the falconer. Most birds are shy; it can take some time before they get enough confidence to step on the glove, but after a while they can be called from a distance and start flying. This is the most exciting, spectacular phase, which had to be turned by the Center into a local attraction for Biak people. However, there is a great difference between merely training birds to fly to the glove and producing a quality falconry Hawk. Much more progress is still ahead and more efforts and discipline are called for with local staff.
When a Hawk is getting used to fly to the glove, it should soon be entered to the lure and start chasing.
Once a Hawk is well in hands, she should quickly be offered regular chances to catch living preys. Otherwise, many birds will become falconer bond or lure bond). Such an abnormally strong link between a bird and a falconer will greatly reduce the bird's performance afield, and, once established, it can hardly be cured. Unfortunately, unexpected irregular training schedule at BFC made many Hawks falconer bond. Having extremely tame birds is still seen as a great success by the Foundation members, who mostly remain very impressed when seeing a bird in flight. No explanation neither complains from field staff about working condition can make them understand that this is not the expected result.
More dramatic, as the BFC expert staff is often made extremely busy by the Foundation member's carelessness for managerial tasks, the birds are too often left to the apprentice staff. It has been witnessed that one of them repeatedly teased the birds by offering food then pulling it back. This unfortunately caused several birds to become aggressive and attack people.
It should be obvious that training falconry birds needs a lot of seriousness, discipline and unceasing cares.
Hunting birds require highly specific, uninterrupted and properly scheduled cares. Merely feeding captive Raptors without giving them a chance to chase and capture living preys will lead to the loss of their basic hunting instinct. We feel extremely sorry that the "Yayasan Peduli Satwa Lestari" management board, diverted by other considerations, never granted any priority to facilitate the "fit for hunting birds" target by
- Purchasing or renting the used pick-up vehicle so badly needed to take the birds to various locations (hunting ground), whereas the necessary funding had been made available by government of the Biak-Numfor district expressly for that purpose.
- Maintaining the conducive conditions needed for the BFC field staff to work properly.
As a consequence, in November 2000 the Center's expert falconer (Mr. Kris Grootaert) has decided to leave for Belgium after one year spent afield. Mr. Grootaert has pointed out that, even with a very promising bird stock, the BFC would never succeed as long as his field work would be depending on a careless management by the "Yayasan Peduli Satwa Lestari" Foundation.

4.3 Breeding

Few Birds of Prey can be paired forcefully. Attempting to compose a pair with incompatible specimens can lead to the male (usually weaker) being killed by the female. Breeding birds must be attracted to each other before being released in a breeding pen.
Up to now, three compatible pairs could be isolated out of forty birds
- Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis)
- Snake-Eagle (Spilornis cheela)
- Changeable Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus)
All have shown discrete to sustained signs of activity around the artificial nests prepared for them and could be expected to lay eggs in a matter of months.
However, Raptors breeding needs a very calm environment. The villagers' uninterrupted activities surrounding the BFC location significantly disturb the birds, and possible paring and incubation are unlikely to produce a viable offspring.
The BFC new location currently being built in Ambrobensup is totally quiet. Unfortunately, the government's funding having be trusted to a local consultant (CV Arsir, - Biak) who didn't follow the basic construction rules, a lot of work is still needed to made these aviaries suitable or Raptors.
It should be reminded that all these Hawk-Eagle species are being bred for the very first time in the world, and that a lot of research is still needed. Such important tools as incubator and artificial insemination equipment have not been made available so far.

5 Conservation

Birds of Prey are rapidly disappearing in Indonesia as the effect of habitat destruction, mostly in the westernmost densely populated islands. The most endangered birds are Spizaetus bartelsi, S alboniger, S. nanus and S kienerii. Up to now, the species of Irian Jaya, though vulnerable, are not endangered because outstandingly wide and well-preserved habitat still covers the entire area.
Protection currently granted to the last populations of highly specialized Raptors surviving in limited poaches of habitat, often with decreasing food resources, is an important but merely time-saving and temporary measure. A more comprehensive conservation policy should also aim at maintaining the gene pool of these species against fatal effects of in-breeding.
Saving vanishing species genetic diversity must encompass proper management of captive-bred strains. The Biak Falconry Center, first Raptors breeding Center in Indonesia, must therefore become an key of a more active and effective conservation framework.
A frequent question is about possible risks involved with the displacement of birds from other islands to Irian Jaya. It appears that these new birds adapt very rapidly in Biak, where they find extremely good climatic conditions (Biak has no long rain season, which often cause respiratory diseases in Java). Specimens sent to Irian Jaya are properly vaccinated and medicated. The odds of introducing avian diseases are therefore extremely limited.
Birds escaping from a Falconry Center are also a sound concern. Modern tools like telemetry greatly reduce the risk of losing a hunting bird. However, unlike many other bird groups (Psittacidae), wandering Raptors have few chances to survive and breed.
Finally, information and leaflets already published by the Center for Biak public already generate a very positive effect on local awareness regarding Raptors' role within the Irian Jaya ecosystem. We have already observed a sensible decrease of the dangerous, primitive trapping methods used by locals to catch Sea-Eagle (considered as a pest by local fishermen), which too often cause the amputation of a limp with long nylon loops.

6  Permits

Application for formal permits from Department of Forestry is still seen as a very exhausting problem.
Locally, the Biak Nature Conservation Service (Sub-Seksi KSDA) is extremely supportive and has already issued a formal Assessment of Technical Facilities (Berita Acara Pemeriksaan Persiapan Teknis) which is the basic document needed for any permit application in Indonesia.
However, and remembering that the applicant identity is likely to change in a near future, it has been the decision of the Foundation Secretary that, instead of going through the time-consuming and costly application proceedings (from the Sub-District to District to Province to Department levels), the BFC would operate under the existing permits of the Biak Birds Park. However, we see the following inconsistency:
- Up to now no formal agreement has been signed between the Bird Park and the BFC.
- The Birds Park permits only cover Raptors originating from Irian Jaya excluding other parts of Indonesia, and only birds keeping excluding any other activity like falconry.
Application for Forestry clearance in Indonesia meets the following problems:
- Current regulations at the Department level still request that applicants should first proceed to full investment and premises implementation before their permit application can be treated. This unique, unpredictable and capricious system is well known to discourage even the most motivated breeders and conservationists.
- Extremely slow bureaucracy,
- Common game species are now massively protected in Indonesia after join consultancy between the Department and an international conservation body. A typical inconsistency is the protection granted to the common Scrubfowl in Indonesia, whereas the Hawaiian populations of the same species are not protected! More paperwork and expenses are therefore needed to obtain a special clearance in compliance with these new regulations.
In view to become legally operational, the BFC will have to apply for the following permits:
1. Breeding permit for all Indonesian Birds of Prey (Accipiteridae and Falconidae)
2. Permit to trap immature birds in Irian Jaya
3. Certificate of origin for birds obtained from western Indonesia
4. Hunting (Falconry) permit for protected local quarry (mostly Scrubfowl).

7  Tourism

7.1 A new, exclusive tourism attraction

BFC rapidly met a pressing demand from Biak authorities to prepare a show for local visitors eager to witness spectacular Raptors. This result proved to be very attractive and appreciated. The following steps were made:
- A beautiful hut was built in traditional Papuan style, to accommodate up to 10 visitors (see picture);
- Various arrangements facilitating a throughout visit of BFC premises, including displays of Falconry tools and equipment;
- Broadcast of general advertising on local radio (RRI). Attractive brochures were also made available in town;
- Publication of a special booklet (20p.) introducing the world of Birds of Prey, their role in the wild, maintenance, conservation and utilization;
- "Open Doors" week (September 2000).
- Opening hours: daily between 15.00 and 18.00
More than 500 people already visited the BFC in Sorido, ranging from government officers or staff, self-employed people, entrepreneurs, villagers and many children. Local schools youth is especially enthusiastic; three of them chose the Birds of Prey as a topic for their science home-works!
Their comments are extremely positive, as shown by the BFC guest-book with more than 200 entries. Locally, falconry is mostly seen as a positive break-through in tourism development and should become an example for a more productive policy in Irian Jaya.
Whereas payments gathered from a Raptors show would be very welcome to help covering the Center's daily costs, the Foundation managers have been unable to apply locally for a clearance to sell tickets! It is said that the local Income and Taxes Services are moving to another building and aren't currently operative.

7.2 Choice of suitable hunting grounds

Typical hunting grounds for falconry are traditionally wide, airy lands giving plenty of open space to the birds, without hiding them from the falconer. Suitable extensive scrublands exist in Biak. Yet, many Raptors trained by the BFC are forest dwelling species, and it is important to select forested locations with arboreal quarry.
Main preys available in Biak are: phalangers, doves, scrubfowls, wild pigs and bandicoots. A choice of ten locations, from 2 to 5 hectares each, seems realistic to meet a representative sample of local quarry.
These locations should be rent from local landowners on a yearly base, at the condition that all natural characteristics should be preserved.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of proper transportation during year 1, and because of unceasing proceedings with the Foundation, the BFC field team could not manage to survey possible hunting grounds as previously expected.

7.3 Blending attractive falconry packages

One of BFC's most important targets is to design and market exclusive quality falconry holiday packages.
According to the initial plan, BFC's program should encompass:
- Falconry activities and hunting (one week)
- Visit and other activities in Biak (snorkeling and diving, fishing, eco-tourism and local cultures) (one week)
Its outstanding location, the variety of its Raptor species including the exciting Spizaetus Hawk-Eagles, all contribute to place the BFC is in an excellent position to offer extremely attractive falconry packages. However, important delay in surveying local hunting grounds and quarry greatly hindered the design of comprehensive programs.

7.4 International promotion

The most effective promotion supports are:
- Articles and advertising  in international Falconry Magazines
The BFC published two introductory articles in the British "Falconers' and Raptors Conservation Magazine" (Aug & Nov. 2000).
- Press
No general article has been published in international press so far
- Creation of a specific Web site
Mostly because of a lack of action pictures (hunting pictures), the creation of a specific Web site for the BFC is still pending.
- Direct E-mail contact on major Falconry discussion groups.
It appears that many falconers would readily travel to Biak. However, direct promotion remains hindered by the absence of proper hunting permit from Department of Forestry-Cites. It must be stressed that Falconry in Western countries is extensively codified, and that some falconers could meet problems in their home-country if their were known to fly Raptors abroad without being covered by proper local permits
- TV
No shooting by television so far.
Biak Falconry Center international promotion effort met the following problems:
- Other existing tourism attractions in Biak (scuba, diving, eco-tourism, fishing, local culture, carving, hotels) remain stalled and no new business is being developed.
- Direct transportation from the United States (Los Angeles - Honolulu - Biak), as operating between 1985 and 1994 has not been re-opened so far, whereas the BFC mostly received reservations from the USA.
- Air transportation fares from Europe remain prohibitive (Amsterdam-Biak: $1,800, against Amsterdam-Bangkok sells at $450 and world tour packages are sold at an average $1,000 only)
- Security in Indonesia is becoming a widespread concern; local conflicts are dramatically eroding the well-know Indonesian traditions for hospitality, making tourism future more and more uncertain.

8  Progress Table

BFC progress and work efficiency under management by the "Yayasan Peduli Satwa Lestari"

A sharp productivity drop can be seen in June 2000

 

Dec.

Jan.

Feb.

Mar.

April

May

 

June

July

Agust.

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

Representative birds collection

++

++++

++++

++

++

-

 

-

-

-

+

-

-

Staff selection and training

-

-

-

++

++

++

 

++

+

+

+

+

+

Live food production

++

-

-

+++

+++

-

 

-

-

-

++

-

-

Birds maintenance

-

-

-

++

++

++

 

+

+

+

+

+

+

Aviaries, pens and equipment

-

-

+++

+++

+++

+++

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

Medical equipment

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

Falconry equipment

-

-

-

+++

+++

-

 

-

-

+

-

-

-

Hawking and Eagling

-

-

-

-

++

+

 

+

+

-

-

+

-

Breeding

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

+

+

+

+

Permit applications

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

+

-

-

-

Tourism attraction

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

-

++

+

+

Hunting grounds

-

-

-

-

+

-

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

Bag game production

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

Falconry packages

-

-

-

-

++

-

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

International promotion

-

-

-

-

+

+

 

+

+

+

+

-

-

9  Conclusion and advice

9.1 Conclusion

1. The BFC development during this first year has been comparatively slow.
2. Most positive achievements are: training of local staff, development of an outstanding, international class Raptors collection, introduction of adapted technologies, and live-food production.
3. The presence of a new Falconry Center in Biak, together with the existing Birds Park and other tourism resources, should place the region in a unique position in Indonesia regarding wise management of wildlife resources, conservation and exclusive tourism attractions.
4. The weakest point of this venture is found in its current structure topped by a largely unconcerned Foundation ("Yayasan Peduli Satwa Lestari"). The result is an accumulation of delays, the loss of several birds, and a waste of time and money (an estimate 40% of the initial funding).
5. The inadequate policy of the "Yayasan Peduli Satwa Lestari" Foundation also caused the premature departure of the Center's expert falconer. Too many promises made by the Management Board, mostly regarding work contracts were never filled. This departure largely shortcuts most openings of the BFC to develop  a professional falconry holidays business.
6. As long as the Los Angeles - Honolulu - Denpasar flight does not land in Biak, and as long as air fares from Europe remain at the current high price, few falconers are likely to make the travel to Biak.
7. Remembering the current political and social issues, it seems unlikely that tourists can readily be going to visit Indonesia again.
8. As long as other tourism attractions and Biak tourism facilities stay stalled, the BFC will stand alone and can hardly be expected to bring many visitors to the island.

9.2 Advice

1. If the current social picture of Indonesia is to hinder further developments of the national tourism industry, the BFC should be urgently re-scheduled to Raptors breeding.
2. The income expected from the sales of falconry holidays should be replaced by proper funding.
3. Full priority should be given to captive breeding of the country's most vulnerable species: Spizaetus bartelsi, Spizaetus nanus, Spizaetus alboniger and Spizaetus (H) kienerii. Three captive breeding pairs per species should be seen as a reasonable target. Second priority should be given to Irian Jaya endemic species: Accipiter (Accipiter meyerianus and A. doriae), Harpyopsis novaguineae and Aquila audax. As third priority, the Hawk-Eagles having a commercial value for possible sales to western Falconers, as Spizaetus cirrhatus and Ictinaetus malayensis.
4. The new premises currently built in Ambrobensup should be adapted according to proper breeding standards.
5. For the sake of efficiency, foreign experts should have a better control on the field and should work under formal and comprehensive terms of reference; they should be directly liable to the funding party / government / shareholder, and not to a Foundation standing in between.
6. Forestry permit matters should be properly and rapidly handled according to the latest developments of decentralization policy within the Department of Forestry.
7. The BFC should be fully acknowledged as a Raptors Conservation Organization. The Center should stand under the authority of a relevant regional government service (the Government of the Irian Jaya Province, the Province Development Planification Board, Forestry) and it should co-operate with international agencies specializing in bird conservation ("The Peregrine Fund" or "Birdlife International").
8. A provisional work-plan on three years should be designed according to the available funding.
9. Indonesian national and regional leaders should take proper steps to arrange an easier and cheaper access to Biak for foreign visitors and tourists.
10. Regional government officers and entrepreneurs should rapidly take the necessary steps to foster the development of more tourism attractions (diving, hotels, local cultures) in Biak, and if needed they should initiate the gathering of a Chamber of the Tourism Entrepreneurs of Cenderawasih Bay.    

Dr Philippe H. Hoyois, Med. Vet

Tenaga ahli Zootekni BIAK FALCONY CENTER
Biak, 11 November 2000