A new bird species found on Rote Island, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) is named after the Indonesian First Lady Iriana Widodo. It was done as an award to the concern of the First Lady over the nature conservation including bird preservation.
The name of Myzomela irianawidodoae is officially given to endemic bird species belonging to the Meliphagidae family as the protected birds according to Law No. 5/1990 on Conservation of Biological Natural Resources and Ecosystems, and Government Regulation No. 7/1999.
President Joko Widodo, through the Minister of Environment and Forestry, and the State Secretary has authorized the use of the First Lady’s name based on Letter No. B1199/M.Sesneg/D-2/HL.01.00/12/2017 dated December 17, 2017.
“Giving the name of a first lady is the first in Indonesia, it is meant as an expression or a form of appreciation to the First Lady who has a deep concern about the bird life, her dedication can be a role model and be an example of saving the environment in Indonesia,” said Main Researcher at LIPI’s Zoology of Biological Research Center Prof. Dr. Dewi Malia Prawiradilaga in Manado January 11.
According to Prawiradilaga, a study of Myzomela Irianawidodoae, the small birds with a body length of 11.8 cm, a weight of 32.23 grams, and a beak length of 1.79 cm, has been done since 1996 through the reports by Johnstone and Jepson. But it was only in 2009, the researchers got the observations result from the Rote Island and managed to record its sounds and take the pictures of the bird.
“After the research and some tests were done to find out whether this species is claimed or not, in 2017, it was registered and published on the Treubia journal volume 33, December edition 2017 on pages 77 to 100,” she said.
Prawiradilaga expressed her concerns about the presence of endemic animals, especially birds in the Rote Island. She views the island condition where the forest keeps eroded makes the number of bird’s species could be threatened with extinction.
“The condition on Rote Island that does not have the protected areas is very threatening. Not to mention the destruction of habitat and the shift of forest functions increase the problem,” Prawiradilaga said.