Conservation Problem

Sulawesi’s endemic Maleo bird – well-known and iconic in Sulawesi but found nowhere else in the world – has been fully protected under Indonesian law since 1972, when it was formally recognized that the birds were threatened due to overharvesting of their enormous eggs as well as the loss and fragmentation of their native forest habitat. Laws protecting Maleos, however, have rarely been enforced and numbers continue to decrease. In many places numbers have declined by more than 90% since 1950.

Mitigating the threat of overharvesting, as well as protecting remaining active nesting grounds – particularly those with intact connectivity to natural forests – is therefore, of critical importance.

In addition, the Maleo’s natural forest habitat is being steadily lost and fragmented throughout Sulawesi due to logging, conversion to agriculture, as well as other larger and smaller scale anthropogenic threats.

Project Activties


This two-year project will take Maleo recovery to a regional level with four components, carried out in close partnership with local communities: 

a) Strengthened site-based conservation of nesting Maleos and their forest habitat;

b) Greater public awareness of the Maleo conservation message through school-based education and public events;

c) Enforcement of laws protecting Maleos and other endangered wildlife through an in-depth outreach program targeting law enforcement personnel;

d) Identification of possible new Maleo conservation sites through a field survey of nesting grounds rumoured to be still extant.



Project Outcomes


Overall, the four components of this comprehensive approach to Maleo conservation should work synergistically to turn the Tompotika region into a stronghold for the Maleo, and for conservation in general.

If this project is successful, for the first time there will be an entire region of Sulawesi where the Maleo's decline has slowed or reversed and Maleos are present and breeding; where local people are increasingly aware, engaged, and enthusiastic about protecting them; and where overall government and public support for conservation activities is growing.


  • Maleo
    What Maleos teach us about parenting, trust and the world we live in
    Maleo (Macrocephalon maleo), Sulawesi’s endemic birds, can inspire us about parenting, trust, and the world we live in. Marcy Summers, Project Director with the SOS grantee Alliance for Tompotika Cons...
  • SOS save our species, AlTo, Maleo bird, Oliver Hensel Brown
    Tompotika Youth Find Their Power in Conservation
    A few weeks ago, something wonderful took place in Tompotika, Sulawesi with high school students championing the cause of local wildlife including the endemic and Endangered Maleo Bird. Marcy Summers,...
  • Maleo bird, Sulawesi, ALTO
    Sparing a thought for Maleo birds on World Egg Day
    Today is World Egg Day, when agribusiness promotes the consumption of eggs as a healthy source of protein. When it comes to one of Indonesia’s national icons however, the Endangered Maleo bird (Macroc...
  • Maleo staff, Sulawesi
    AITo's conservationists training villagers
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