The Bali starling is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which means that commercial trade in this bird is prohibited (5). In addition, this species has been protected under Indonesian law since 1970 (1) (2) (9), and its entire remaining wild population occurs within Bali Barat National Park (1) (9).
In partnership with the Indonesian government and US and British Zoos, in 1983 BirdLife International established the Bali Starling Project, with the aim of saving the Bali starling from extinction. This project has helped to improve the protection of the park, and has increased the wild Bali starling population through the release of captive-bred birds (1) (9), contributing significantly to the future viability of this species (10).
Unfortunately, this programme was dogged with problems, including the theft of 39 captive individuals in the park that were awaiting release into the wild (1) (9). In 1992, the Indonesian Government introduced a new law which states that all protected animals were required to be registered, as they are the property of the state. Anyone found in possession of an unregistered Bali starling now faces a substantial fine, or even imprisonment (3).
In 2004, Friends of the National Parks Foundation (FNPF), a grassroots Indonesian conservation NGO, started work on protecting the Bali starling, and has since transformed three islands off the coast of Bali – Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan – into a bird sanctuary (1) (7). The bird sanctuary is the first in Indonesia to be established in an inhabited area, and is now home to at least 100 Bali starlings. These birds are now protected from poaching and wildlife traders under traditional regulations, which were adopted by the island’s 41 villages following discussions with FNPF (7).
In addition, the FNPF rehabilitates and releases Bali starlings within the sanctuary, and in 2013 four chicks hatched at the organisation’s centre on Nusa Penida Island – the first to be captive-bred in the area (7). Reforestation programmes help to restore the Bali starling’s habitat (11), while community development programmes are vital in ensuring that local people understand the importance of protecting this species, as well as other endangered birds (12).