Rare Indonesian Cockatoos Only 20 Left in Wild Get Support from Renowned Wildlife Artist

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The Indonesian Parrot Project and Konservasi Kakatua Indonesia have been working fervently to protect the Abbotti cockatoo (C. sulphurea abbotti), one of the rarest parrots in the world, that is currently on the threshold of extinction with only twenty birds left on a tiny island in the remote Java Sea. To support and help create awareness of these birds, renowned wildlife artist Andrew Denman created a one-of-a-kind pencil drawing which will be put up for auction.

Abbotti Cockatoo at nesting site

"The driving motivation of IPP is to protect them from this fate... for when they are gone, they cannot not fly back home. They would be lost to us and future generations, forever "

The Abbotti cockatoo (C. sulphurea abbotti) is one of the rarest parrots in the world and is currently on the threshold of extinction with only twenty birds left on Masakambing island in the remote Java Sea, Indonesia. To support and help create awareness of these beautiful birds, renowned wildlife artist Andrew Denman has created a one-of-a-kind pencil drawing which will be put up for auction. 100% of the proceeds will be used to protect and conserve this small population.

The Indonesian Parrot Project and Konservasi Kakatua Indonesia have been working directly at the grassroots level with local leaders, residents, children and the military utilizing a focused approach including a conservation, awareness, and pride program, ecological studies related to survival, and legal protection.

The team also worked with Kepala Desa Ahmad Abbas (head of the island) to help pass a law in 2009 to protect the birds. Stated Abbas, “Everyone is forbidden to catch, hurt, kill, possess, keep, bring and trade cockatoos and are forbidden to export the cockatoo from Masakambing.”

The Indonesian Parrot Project (IPP) was founded by Dr. Stewart Metz in 2001 and has made significant progress to slow the decline in the numbers of cockatoos and the risk of extinction in important areas of these three regions, focusing on in-situ fieldwork,and the education of children and adults alike.

In the early 1980’s, trappers from Bali and the Sumbawa Islands captured hundreds of the Abbotti Cockatoos for the pet trade, which dramatically reduced their population. Also, when interviewing local residents, it was reported that soldiers also shot them for sport. Haji Ijas (former head of Masakambing Island) stated in an interview, “I grew up on Masalembu in the 1960’s and our islands were populated with huge flocks of cockatoos, but other people also saw the beauty of our birds and that was their downfall.”

In 1999 there were only five birds left. In 2005, Dr. Dewi M. Prawiradilaga, Ph.D, with the Indonesian Institute of Science suggested that the bird possibly was not extinct as had been feared. Therefore, the team immediately initiated conservation initiatives and conducted research. At that time the census was ten birds, but eventually the population grew to the current census of twenty birds.

In April 2014, a representative of IPP visited the island to lecture at the local schools, meet with the head of the island, and teach the local people about simple avian medicine, chick care, anatomy and nutrition. On that visit a chick was rescued who had been in the possession of a local man and was near death due to starvation. The chick survived and is currently being cared for by the women of the village.

Other potential obstacles still facing the Abbotti Cockatoo include risk of annihilation from natural disasters; loss of habitat and nesting sites; decrease in genetic diversity (due to small population size and in-breeding); aging population (ratio of females to males); food depletion as population rises; genetic drift and disease; and continuing trapping and selling into the illegal bird trade.

Andrew Denman, is a California-based, internationally recognized, award-winning contemporary wildlife artist. Denman primarily paints wildlife and animal subjects in a unique, hallmark style combining hyper-realism with stylization and abstraction. His dynamic and original acrylic paintings and drawings can be found in museum collections on two continents and in numerous private collections in the USA and abroad. His clear voice, unique vision, and commitment to constant artistic experimentation have positioned him on the forefront of an artistic vanguard of the best contemporary wildlife and animal painters working today.

The auction will begin at 12:00 a.m. on December 19th and will conclude at 12 p.m. on December 21st. The winner will be announced on December 22nd. To participate in the auction please visit IPP on Facebook.

Dr. Stewart Metz, Associate Director of IPP stated, “It may be whimsical thinking, but perhaps these cockatoos were put on such remote and inaccessible places, to keep them as far as possible from Man. Nonetheless, we are witnessing another possible tragedy in the making: these spectacular Abbott cockatoos are truly on the brink of extinction. The driving motivation of IPP is to protect them from this fate... for when they are gone, they cannot fly back home. They would be lost to us and future generations, forever “

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Bonnie Zimmermann
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