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    Controlling trapping, overgrazing and invasive vegetation is key to saving Java's last population of the Black-winged Myna

    Squires, TM, Collar, NJ, Devenish, C, Owen, A, Pratiwi, A, Winarni, NL and Marsden, SJ ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0205-960X (2022) Controlling trapping, overgrazing and invasive vegetation is key to saving Java's last population of the Black-winged Myna. Ornithological Applications, 124 (2). duac004. ISSN 0010-5422

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    Abstract

    The Black-winged Myna (Acridotheres melanopterus) is an Endangered passerine endemic to the islands of Java and Bali, Indonesia. Illegal trapping to supply the cage-bird trade has led to its near-total extinction, with the global population estimated to number fewer than 100 individuals. We estimated the current range and population size of the species at Baluran National Park, which supports Java's last known population, and used species distribution modeling to evaluate potential suitability of currently unoccupied areas across the park to identify priorities for management intervention. We estimate that the Black-winged Myna population numbers 179 individuals (95% CI: 111-288; density: 14.3 ± 3.5 individuals km-2) and that its current range is 12.3 km2. Our model indicated that some 72 km2 of the park (30% of total area) has potentially suitable habitat for the species, and we infer that the principal cause for the disparity between its current and potential range is trapping, compounded by savanna loss and degradation due to illegal domestic cattle grazing and the spread of invasive thorny acacia (Vachellia nilotica). The partial clearance of acacia in recent years appears to have assisted a modest population recovery by the myna. Its further population growth and range expansion in Baluran will depend on effective management of illegal poaching, further clearance of acacia, and easing domestic cattle grazing pressure on areas of savanna, particularly through engagement with communities living inside the park. Any actions that increase the size of the Black-winged Myna population are likely to benefit other threatened savanna-dependent wildlife in the park, notably banteng (Bos javanicus) and Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus). While our models and recommendations may be applicable to other protected areas in Java, and indeed other threatened myna species, trapping and habitat change may have site-specific dimensions, especially outside of protected areas, and thus demand local bespoke solutions.

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