REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- An endemic honey-eater bird originated from Rote Island, East Nusa Tenggara has been named after the first lady, "Myzomela irianawidodoae", according to a researcher.
The official name of the new honey-eater discovered in Rote has been published on a Treubia scientific journal Vol.4 on page 77-100, December edition, Enny Sudarmonowati, Natural Sciences Deputy of The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) said here, Thursday.
The researcher has been permitted to use the first lady's name, Iriana Widodo, to label the endemic honey-eater bird, in accordance to the regulation issued by the State Secretary and the Environment and Forestry Ministry No.B1199/M.Sesneg/D-2/HL.01.00/12/2017, signed in December last year.
Hence, Iriana would be the First Lady whose name is referred to scientifically labeling the bird in Indonesia. Her name is chosen by the scientists because Iriana has been dedicated to preserve the Indonesian bird species, as well as its environment.
According to Sudarmonowati, the first lady would serve as a role model for the people, mainly in term of protecting nature.
The LIPI scientist further explained that the discovery of Rote new bird species was initiated by a Forbes publication in 1879. The article mentioned that numbers of Myzomela spp. have not yet been discovered.
In 1996, Johnstone and Jepson claimed a new kind of Myzomela might be found on Rote Island, while in 2009, an environmentalist, Philip Verbelen had recorded pictures and the voice sample of the bird, after observing the species on the island.
Moreover, in 2017, a group of LIPI scientist of Biology, led by Dr Dewi M. Prawiradilaga and a team of National University of Singapore, chaired by Prof Frank Rheindt announced a new Myzomela bird species on Rote island on the scientific publication.
As part of Meliphagidae family, the bird has been protected by the Law No. 5 Year 1990 on Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation, as well as the Government Regulation No. 7 Year 1999.
The bird is characterized with the tiny size in 11.8 centimeters in height and weigh 32.33 grams. The black bill bird normally has dark-brown eyes with black-yellow toe nails.
Meanwhile, its fur has a blood-red color, with a fine black line near the eyes.
As a honey-eater, the scientists said, the bird is potential to function as a pollinator. However, this claim should be further studied.
"Therefore we call for the protection of this bird in the wild," Sudarmonowati remarked.