Indonesian village gives owls their jobs back

The local government has supported the program by putting into place a law that bans shooting or disturbing birds in the area. (Shutterstock)
Updated 11 October 2017

Indonesian village gives owls their jobs back

TLOGOWERU:The owls of Tlogoweru have their jobs back.
Six years ago farmers in this small Indonesian village were fighting a losing battle against rats and other pests ravaging their crops.
They tried smoking out the pests, but it failed. Hunting them was also impractical. The villagers also wanted to avoid using pesticides for fear of damaging their crops.
Pujo Arto had an idea. Bring back a natural predator — the barn owl.
Since then, the farmer-turned-breeder has raised nearly 2,000 owls through his Natural Predator Program and released them into the wild to combat pests.
“We fostered awareness within our community by building homes for these owls, while government officials helped in implementing laws,” said Arto, 50.
Common barn owls, due to their size and diet, were most suited for the job, Arto said.
In the wild, a barn owl will lay between three and 12 eggs, but not many nestlings survive. Arto brings the eggs back to the facility to increase the survival rate, releasing the birds back into the wild when they are four months old.
So far, Arto has set up 140 nesting boxes in the village for the owls to lay their eggs, the houses standing tall on posts amidst the green fields of corn.
Deforested land used for agriculture reduces locations for nesting, so the boxes provide the birds with an incentive to stay and thrive.
The local government has supported Arto’s program by putting into place a law that bans shooting or disturbing birds in the area.
Thanks to Arto’s initiative, Tlogoweru village has now become a popular destination for people looking to learn about the importance of maintaining a balanced ecosystem in nature.


Music icon Cher meets Pakistan PM ahead of elephant’s move

Updated 27 November 2020

Music icon Cher meets Pakistan PM ahead of elephant’s move

  • The famed singer has for years campaigned for Kaavan the elephant and is helping pay for his move
  • Cher tweeted that she thanked Khan “For Making It Possible For Me To Take Kaavan To Cambodia”

ISLAMABAD: American pop icon Cher met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday ahead of the relocation of an elephant from Islamabad’s dilapidated zoo to a Cambodian sanctuary.
The famed singer, who has for years campaigned for Kaavan the elephant and is helping pay for his move, arrived in the Pakistan capital this week to see the animal before the flight to Cambodia on Sunday.
“Appreciating her efforts in retiring Kaavan to an elephant sanctuary, the prime minister thanked Cher for her campaign and role in this regard,” a statement from Khan’s office read.
Cher tweeted that she thanked Khan “For Making It Possible For Me To Take Kaavan To Cambodia.”
The plight of Kaavan — an overweight, 35-year-old bull elephant — has drawn international condemnation and highlighted the woeful state of Islamabad’s zoo, where conditions are so bad a judge in May ordered all the animals to be moved.
A team of vets and experts from Four Paws, an Austria-based animal welfare group, has spent months working with Kaavan to get him ready for the journey to Cambodia.
Experts have trained Kaavan to enter a large metal crate that will be used to transport the animal to the airport.
Volunteers working with Kaavan say he responds well to music and singing, and Cher is expected to belt out a song or two for the elephant before he departs Islamabad.