The maleo has become endangered due to the cumulative effects of various threats (4). Unsustainable harvesting of its eggs by locals for food, and human disturbance of nesting grounds have led to the abandonment of most coastal nesting colonies which has disastrous effects on the maleo’s breeding potential. A recent survey indicated that, of the 131 formerly known nesting grounds, an astounding 42 have been abandoned by the maleo. Furthermore, 38 are severely threatened, 34 are threatened, 12 are of unknown status, and only five are not yet threatened (4).
In addition, forest destruction and fragmentation due to logging, agriculture, urban and road developments have isolated virtually all of the maleo’s coastal nesting grounds from non-breeding habitats. This has significantly increased the risk of mortality and natural predation of maleo chicks, and, as small populations become increasingly fragmented, their chances of successful breeding and survival are increasingly reduced (4). Invasive vegetation also poses a threat to the maleo’s nesting grounds (2). The global population is currently estimated at between 4,000-7,000 breeding pairs, though this number is declining rapidly in places, by up to 90% since 1950 (2).