Conservation of the Yellow-crested Cockatoo

The Yellow-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea) and its seven subspecies are ‘Critically Endangered’, due to decades of habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade. While the Sumba race of citrinocristata is still reasonably common, the nominate race (C. s. sulphurea) of Sulawesi and Buton (200 birds maximum) has disappeared from most of its range. Abbott's cockatoo (C. s. abbotti), has also been eradicated from two of the three islands of Masalembu, and only a stable population is known in the tiny island of Masakambing, five square kilometers in size. All other subspecies also have extremely reduced populations: occidentalis on Sumbawa (107), Komodo/Rinca (200), Flores (40-70), Alor (18); djampeana on the Tanahjampea Islands (15); paulandrewi on the Tukangbesi Islands (8); parvula on Roti (very few), west Timor (20-50) and Timor Leste (200 – 300).

Cacatua sulphurea
Conservation status: Category CR (Critically Endangered) in the Red List of the IUCN
Wild population: Around 950 upper limit, in decline.
Captive population: Number unknown.

Gain greater scientific knowledge about ecology of the abbotti and sulphurea races, systematically update this information to initiate effective conservation measures, and establish strongholds for all subspecies across Indonesia and Timor Leste.

Development of censuses, ecological studies, evaluations of illegal capture, local awareness campaigns, attaining the complicity and cooperation of the community and its institutions.

The censuses conducted in Masakambing and Sulawesi/Buton from 2009 gave startling results. On the island of Masakambing three pairs and two juveniles, were found. Subsequently, the "Pride of conservation awareness" program was launched, and the first local law to protect the cockatoos was promulgated. This tiny population of abbotti curently has no more than 18 individuals. Other important places to undertake censuses were Rawa Aopa Watumohai National Park in Sulawesi, and the southeastern shore of the island Buton and other nearby islands, where a scarcity of sulphurea was confirmed, with only 55 counted in Rawa Aopa Watumohai. The current phase involves extensive surveys of all other populations of the species, to obtain accurate estimates of numbers, and determine ecological and management requirements so as to establish managed strongholds.


Local Partner
Manchester Metropolitan University
BirdLife International
Indonesia Parrot Project
Indonesian Cockatoo Conservation

Funds since 2009: 172.590 $

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