The habitat of the endangered macrocephalon maleo (maleo bird) in Banggai district has been reduced to 625 hectares of the 12,500 ha wildlife reserve set by the Forest Ministry in 1982, an official said.
“Rampant illegal logging in the past two decades had caused a e significant decrease in the habitat of the bird which is on the brink of extinction,” Banggai district forest and plantation office head Djalal Yunus said here Sunday as the Antara News report explains.
Irresponsible people opened forests in Bakiriang area recklessly for cacao, coffee and other food crop plantations and sold logs to people outside Bakiriang forests, he said.
To make thing worse, around 1,000 people have lived in the Bakiriang wildlife reserve in the past years.
“According to an investigation by the Banggai district administration, in 2003 the number of people living in the protected reached only 300,” Djalal said.
He criticised the local administration for letting an oil palm plantation company PT Kurnia Luwuk Sejati to operate in 600 ha of land.
Meanwhile, Banggai customary people forum head Hideo Amir asked the forestry ministry to take precautionary steps to save the Bakiriang wildlife reserve from total distruction as well as take stern action against tree fellers and irresponsible people including officials who had been selling plots of land since the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has given special attention to the wildlife reserve.