Think of the Kelimutu National Park in Ende, Flores, and the first thing that comes to mind is Mount Kelimutu and its mystifying tri-coloured crater lakes. But did you know that the national park is home to more than just a sacred sleeping volcano? It is the place where you can find Indonesia’s national eagle, a unique species known as the Flores Eagle.
This little known eagle has an important role in Indonesia’s history. It is said that the eagle helped to inspire the creation of the country’s flag. The story goes that Indonesia’s first President, Dr. Ir. H. Soekarno, spotted the Flores Eagle during his exile in Ende from 1934-1938. The eagle’s snow white chest and reddish wings are said to be the reason why the Indonesian flag as we know it today bears the proud colours of red and white.
Unfortunately, the Flores Eagle is dwindling in numbers. It is now critically endangered and according to the Regent of Ende, Marsel Petu, the population of the Flores Eagle is dropping at an alarming rate with only 10 individuals remaining in the national park today. Marsel urges those overseeing the Kelimutu National Park to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Flores Eagle as well as all other wildlife living within the national park, including combating illegal hunting and other damages inflicted from human-related activities.
The Flores Eagle is a large carnivorous bird which can grow up to 82cm long. Although it is named Flores Eagle or Elang Flores, it can also be found in Sumbawa, Lombok, Satonda, Paloe, Komodo, and Rinca in lowland forests at an altitude of 1600 metres above sea level. It is estimated that there is only 250 wild Flores Eagle left in the world today.
In addition to Elang Flores, Kelimutu National Park is also home to 19 species of endangered birds including Flores punai (Treron floris), owl wallacea (Otus silvicola), jungle swings (Rhinomyias oscillans), Flores mackerel (Pachycephala nudigula), dwarf dwarfs (Pericrocotus lansbergei), Timor thesis (Tesia everetti), crested opior (Lophozosterops dohertyi), thick half-opera (Heleia crassirostris), golden chili (Dicaeum annae), Flores kelicap (Monarcha sacerdotum), honey matari bird (Nectarinia solaris), and Flores eagle (Spizaetus floris).