Bad News for Maleo Birds | God's World News
Bad News for Maleo Birds
Jet Balloon
Posted: March 01, 2024
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    A pair of maleos looks for a spot to lay an egg on a beach in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia. (AP/Dita Alangkara)
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    A maleo digs a hole to lay an egg as its mate keeps lookout. (AP/Dita Alangkara)
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    A poacher holds a newly laid maleo egg taken from the beach in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia. (AP/Dita Alangkara)
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    Youths pass a mural in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia. Its message asks people not to eat maleo eggs. (AP/Dita Alangkara)
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    A worker mops the floor near the statue of a maleo at a hotel in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia. (AP/Dita Alangkara)
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Why does the maleo bird cross the road?

To dig a deep hole, lay a huge egg, and bury it.

The problem? Poachers are watching. As soon as the bird scrams, they dig up the egg.

You’ve likely never seen a maleo bird. The birds live on Sulawesi Island in Indonesia. They’re tall with black feathers and pinkish chests. And they’re almost gone.

Indonesia’s new capital city doesn’t help matters. Builders are busy at the new city hundreds of miles away on the island of Borneo. But the work spills out into Sulawesi. People build roads and new ports. Building materials will travel along these new passages. Maleos’ homes disappear bit by bit.

Maleos measure less than two feet tall. Helmet-like, bony protrusions poke out atop their skulls. See a knob at the base of a maleo’s upper beak? That bird is male. See a freshly hatched chick? Unlike other baby birds, it’s born knowing how to fly!

In the city of Mamuju, the biggest hotel in town is named Maleo. A large statue of the bird welcomes guests. But the real birds are in short supply. Only about 8,000 to 14,000 adult birds remain.

It is not too late to help the birds. But they’ll need three things to thrive:

  • a home—the native forest;
  • a nesting ground—a warm and sandy beach to lay eggs on;
  • a safe path between the two.

And, of course, they’ll need to keep their eggs! Poachers sell each egg for only 15,000 rupiah—about $1—to people who consider them a delicacy. People in Mamuju and other parts of Sulawesi have a long history of giving eggs as gifts. But take too many, and there will be none left to give.

Look at the birds of the air: They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? — Matthew 6:26

Why? People need wisdom to make compromises both to serve people and to protect animals.