Do your kids love animals, especially birds? Looking for animal friendly, compassionate tourism which helps promote the protection of native wildlife and community education? Why not visit Begawan Foundation in Sibang, adjacent to Green School during your next trip to Bali?
Begawan Foundation was founded in 1999 by Bradley and Debbie Gardener with the aim to create projects which benefited local people and conserving the natural environment. The Bali Starling Conservation project was their first initiative to bring back the critically endangered bird back from the brink of extinction. Not many visitors to Bali notice the 200 Rupiah coin features the Bali Starling, known locally as Jalak Bali, which has been mascot of Bali since 1991. This species of bird is endemic to Bali and has the unique features of being all white with only black tips on the wings and very characteristic blue around the eyes, very much like their own blue Zorro masks.
However, sadly like many other beautiful songbird species, their beauty has been the downfall. The pet bird trade is booming in Indonesia and an estimated 1.3 million birds are believed to be poached from the forests of Indonesia every year. These statistics are simply not sustainable, which was the case with the Bali Starling. In 1991 there was believed to be only 15 individuals left in the wild. Captive breeding and release programs by Begawan Foundation and other local NGOs has brought the Bali Starling back from the brink, but their future is still in danger from the threat of poachers.
Education and community socialization have been Begawan Foundation’s key missions to combat the threat of poaching of our released and wild-born birds. We conduct weekly education programs in elementary schools in the Sibang area and we have a Bali Starling Ambassadors program in which ambassadors meet weekly to learn more about protecting the Bali Starling. Our education program is a 10 week program that aims to create awareness and understanding with students, and includes 2 creative lessons.
The students learn about the importance of birds to the ecosystem, why the Bali Starling has become endangered, the differences between birds and humans and the differences between the life of a bird in the wild compared to a cage. We also cover topics on water conservation, reducing plastic contamination in the rivers and oceans and waste management. Our creative lessons have included creating and decorating nest boxes to place around the school to make the environment more wildlife friendly. We also conduct education sessions with adults in the Banjar (community centres) to gain the community’s support to protect wild birds.
One of the ways you can help raise awareness for what we do and help us fund our programs is booking a tour with us when you are in Bali. Our centre is home to around 65 Bali Starlings, we also have breeding programs with the near-threatened Forsten and Mitchell’s Lorikeet species, Eclectus pair and their offspring and our Wreathen hornbill pair.
We have a personalized package which is Rp180,000 for adults and Rp130,000 for children. This package includes a guided tour of both the breeding enclosures (Bali Starling, Mitchell’s and Forsten’s Lorikeet, Hornbills and Eclectus Parrot) and the socialization enclosure where the birds which have left the care of their parents learn to fly, play and find a mate. You can also go birdwatching around Green School complex, help with food preparation and feeding with the bird keepers. If there are any children in a group, there will be an additional activity: to examine feathers through the microscope in laboratory. Tours are recommended in the morning as this co-insides with feeding and when the birds are most active.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to make a booking.
We also cater to school visits to a maximum of 30 students per visit. Our program can be delivered in English or Bahasa Indonesia. We have site visit education programs for students of all ages with elementary programs (2 hours) and middle and high school programs (3 hours). Our program begins with an introduction and video followed by interactive activities. Students will be split into smaller groups and rotated through the activities. Older students will be given the opportunity to participate in debate topics around the challenges of wildlife conservation.
More info on Begawan Foundation
Begawan Foundation’s Breeding & Release site is located adjacent to Green School, Banjar Saren, Sibang Kaja. Please note, bookings are essential.
Check out our website www.begawanfoundation.org for more information or to make a donation.